Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews 12
I recently watched Alami's debut feature "The Charmer" (2017). Set in Copenhagen, the film's main character is an Iranian desperate to obtain permanent resident status in Denmark. Esmail decides his only option is to marry a Danish woman. To this end, he spends his evenings in a cocktail bar looking for potential candidates. His nights often end in failure, with Esmail being one of the last patrons lingering over a drink at closing time. These scenes reminded me of Edward Hopper's painting "Nighthawks", because of the evocation of loneliness but also the visual look.
My reaction made even more sense when reading the above interview with Alami on the Danish Film Institute's website. Alami, who graduated from Denmark's National Film School, states that he wanted the scenes filmed in Copenhagen to be dark and claustrophobic as a way of reinforcing Esmail's interior state of mind and the mystery surrounding his motivation. "The Charmer" was photographed by Sophia Olsson, who also was the cinematographer on "Sami Blood" (my full review is on the Drama Movies site). Both films are psychological portraits of outsider characters who are unable to integrate fully into either their native or adopted cultures.
Amanda Kernell, the writer-director of "Sami Blood", is currently in post-production on her second feature film "Charter", also photographed by Sophia Olsson. "Charter" is the story of Alice, a woman who abducts her children rather than lose custody. "Charter" is slated for release in 2020. In the meantime, you can watch both "The Charmer" and "Sami Blood" on DVD or Amazon Video.
The streaming world has gotten even more crowded this week with the launch of Kino Now. The site is dedicated to international, classic, and documentary film. Two documentaries currently streaming on Kino are "Bombshell", the story of actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr, and "Be Natural", a bio of the world's first female filmmaker Alice Guy. Although I think the best way to get acquainted with Guy is to actually view her work, "Be Natural" provides some good context.
Column posted on 10/4/2019.
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