3 items from 2015
★★★★☆ Two Edinburgh regulars, Mark Cousins and Mania Akbari, have collaborated to produce an insightful film-essay exchange, their differing filmmaking styles bursting with ideas and inspiring new thought in each other in Life May Be (2014). The project was conceived when the distributor, Second Run asked Cousins to write something in response to Akbari's One. Two. One (2011) for their release last year. Rather than the usual essay, Cousins instead wrote a letter that begins, "Dear Mania Akbari, I'm sitting in a pub in Edinburgh, Scotland. It's a cold May day..." and goes on to imagine a journey taken by the two filmmakers from Sweden to London, via Rome, Tehran, and Hungary.
- CineVue UK
The real magic of the I for Iran series in Toronto lies in curation: the talent they have recruited to present and contextualize the various films screened is a testament to their commitment to offering the best possible cinematic experience. More so than not, each film is accompanied by a presenter – a variety of filmmakers, writers and scholars – who offer invaluable insight and context. While this has always been the case, the I for Iran series has been particularly rich.
Presenting the opening screening was Roya Akbari, who participated with Abbas Kiarostami on the film Ten and is a filmmaker in her own right. Her poetic short Only Image Remains was the opening film of the series, and featured her own reminiscence as well as interviews with many top Iranian filmmakers. This set the tone for presenters like Shahram Tabe, Hamid Naficy, Amir Soltani and, perhaps most notably, acclaimed Iranian »
- Justine Smith
A couple of years ago, at a different film festival in a different country, I had a terrific time with Mark Cousins' engagingly/exhaustingly self-indulgent doodle, "What Is This Film Called Love?" and a tough time trying to marshall my scattered and immensely, consciously subjective impressions into the semblance of a coherent review. So at the Göteborg International Film Festival, I was looking forward to "Life May Be," a similarly personal, intimate, lo-fi filmic essay that Cousins co-directed with Iranian director Mania Akbari, perhaps hoping it would have the same pleasantly discombobulating effect. But "Life May Be," here benefitting from the added interest of a new point of view from Akbari, while just as erudite and idiosyncratic as we might expect from Cousins (seriously, if you are not already a fan, this will not be the film to convince you), felt cooler, less generous with its sensation of wrapping the audience up in. »
- Jessica Kiang
3 items from 2015
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