Iran 1995. Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Color, in Farsi with English subtitles. 75 mins.
Proof positive that revolutionary Iran is as movie-mad as anywhere else in the world -- and that filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf is just a wee bit of a misanthrope -- the sly and subversive Salaam Cinema was intended as the director's tribute to cinema's 100th birthday, and was one of the great revelations of the international festival circuit in 1995. Trickster Makhmalbaf placed an ad in a Tehran newspaper, inviting people to addition for his latest project. Thousands of people heeded his "cattle call" -- precipitating the rather alarming riot which opens Salaam Cinema. Makhmalbaf then proceeded to film the "auditions" of dozens of these hopefuls, many of whom are convinced that they bear an uncanny resemblance to Paul Newman or Marilyn Monroe, or that their obvious abundance of talent will soon have them jetting off to Cannes. These supposed "screen tests" became the stuff of Makhmalbaf's frequently edgy film, with the director often badgering, hectoring and provoking his aspiring actors, insisting that they cry on demand or leave, asking them to sing a song or mime a melodramatic death, or simply getting them to talk about their lives. The results are sometimes charming, sometimes cruel, but always absolutely fascinating
Runtime: 75 minutes, 1995 Type: Drama / political Language: Farsi with English subtitles
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