BioEdge’s Michael Cook writes on his blog today:
I recently saw a stunning film by the brilliant Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, Le Passé (The Past). It begins as a conventional melodrama about an Iranian man who returns to Paris because his French wife wants a divorce. All the characters, both adults and children, are struggling to free themselves from a spider’s web of misunderstandings and secrets. The melodrama becomes an intensely engaging detective story.
The bioethical angle? At the heart of the conflicts is a brain-damaged woman, apparently in a permanent vegetative state. Is she still married? Does she have dignity? Is she still lovable? I can’t remember the last time I was so touched by the honesty, humanity and artistic skill of a film. Sorry, not true – the last time was Farhadi’s Oscar-winning film A Separation. But that lacked a bioethical angle.
I must confess that I am in love with cinematography, in other words, motion pictures. I have always thought that motion pictures are the ultimate art form, combining color, motion, dialogue, music, and in 3-D spatial experiences, in short everything that is the subject matter of artists and art. Disclosure: I am writing about serious films, not the junk that usually spills out of the Hollywood machinery.
Being of French-Hispanic descent, I have a highly developed level of emotional response. I used to cry watching Shirley Temple movies when I was young. Now any film that touches my compassion button will cause me to take out my handkerchief and wipe away the tears.
Iranian films have the power to do that. One of the best Iranian films I have seen is The Color of Paradise. I have watched it on three different occasions and I cry every time. I highly recommend it.
All good Iranian films give us some insight into the ordinary lives of Muslim society. That is good, because just as we learned that not all Japanese or Germans were evil in the Second World War, now we have to know that not all Muslims are seeking to behead Christians.
The film A Separation mentioned by Michael Cook in the article above is one of the good Iranian films that I have seen twice. It offers a fascinating insight into Muslim family life. I highly recommend it also.