Friday, March 7, 2014

Film on Friday #11 - The Iran Job

The Iran Job from Director Till Schauder is the latest entry in the Film on Friday series. As with all Film Movement releases, it was an official selection at multiple film festivals.

I watched most of the Winter Olympics - and read of the controversy and upset surrounding what should be a politically neutral event.  The Iran Job also uses sports as a platform to explore a politically charged country and its people - in a distinctly different platform. Basketball.

American Kevin Sheppard is a journeyman basketball player - he makes his living playing for overseas teams. When approached to play by a fledgling team in the Iranian Super League, he accepts.

I've heard of the overseas leagues, but to be honest, had no idea that Iran had a league - and loads of avid fans!

Schauder's choice of Sheppard as a focal point of his film was a good choice. Sheppard is extremely engaging. It is this engaging manner that allows him to make friends in a time and place that is not US friendly. While it is fascinating to watch the basketball team, it is the people that allow themselves to be filmed as they talk openly to Sheppard that were the stars. Kevin makes friends with three young Iranian women and they share their thoughts about and hopes for their country. Sheppard's interactions with his teammates, apartment building superintendent, roommate, shopkeepers and more kept me engaged for the full 95 minutes. Schauder's film gave me a look at everyday Iran -a change from the nightly news stories. An excellent documentary well worth watching. (With a great soundtrack) English and Farsi with subtitles. 95 minutes.

As always, Film Movement includes a bonus short film. City Bomber is also from Till Schauder. I can see the tie-in with the main feature, but it didn't hold my attention. A German architect decides to bomb a downtown building - but is horrified to find his young daughter arriving just before it is set to detonate. It's shot in black and white, with choppy cutaways and significant stills. I can see the director flexing his artistic muscles, but it was a miss for me. German with English subtitles. 22 min.

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