The writings of Bill Mousoulis
Only Human, Only Cinema …
narrative” – it is a conjunction sometimes bandied about, but seldom realised
in films themselves. Maybe it is too
much of a dream, too “inbetween” our known, delineated forms. For filmmakers who have tried, they have always
slipped to one side or the other. Warhol
did Sleep, but it is experimental; Akerman did Jeanne Dielman,
but it is narrative; Paradjanov did Sayat Nova, but it is experimental; Jost did Last
Chants but it is narrative.
emerging Iranian-Irish filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi actually seems to get closer
to this fine line between “experimental” and “narrative” than any other
filmmaker known to me. And this is no
mean feat – it requires great nerve, and good verve. True artists are those who not only envision
something particular, but who also go after it with energy and passion. And Rashidi is obviously in his groove at the
moment, making many films, developing his vision.
feature Only Human (2009) is my
favourite of his works. A B&W film,
it begins with a dreamy documentary sequence along a strip of apartment houses
next to a river, the houses reflected in the water. Fireworks are in the air. A young teenage couple look for a quiet spot to kiss. Without music,
Rashidi creates a poetic effect, a subtle gliding into the human soul no less,
as the combination of environment and human motion speaks to us, the
viewer. As well as a minimalist experimentalist,
Rashidi is a realist: his vistas
resonate for us because they are known, they are real, they are “human”.
so the film progresses and we are given mini-portraits of a number of
people. Or maybe one should say
“maxi-portraits”, for the glimpses we get, small as they are, have a “large”
quality … in the gaps in the phone conversations, in the glances of the eyes,
in the stuttered walks … in these things, we feel these people’s lives, what
they are living through. Humans connect,
and misconnect. Life is heavy. It rains.
© Bill Mousoulis November 2010.