Del 14 al 29 de Octubre está teniendo lugar el BFI 53rd London Film Festival. Ayer fui a una sesión doble de cine de Oriente Medio en el Vue de Leicester Sq.: About Elly, iraní, y Ajami, una coproducción alemana-israelí. Las dos me gustaron bastante, aunque mi interés no resida tanto en el género como en su trasfondo o contexto sociológico/político. Alguien que no tenga un interés previo por conocer mejor cómo es la sociedad iraní (About Elly) o la israelí (Ajami) seguramente las aprecie menos, aunque sean en sí mismas buenas películas.
Copio los resúmenes de la página del festival.
Ahmad (Shahab Hosseini) has recently returned to Tehran from Germany following the break up of his marriage. He is persuaded to join a group of old university friends on a weekend jaunt, to a getaway on the banks of the Caspian Sea. There's much excitement about the trip, with Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) particularly upbeat. She's invited along an outsider; Elly (Taraneh Alidousti) is an attractive nursery school teacher, and it gradually comes to light that Sepideh is matchmaking, thinking that Elly be the perfect new partner for Ahmed. Then, just as the friends are beginning to accept the stranger and the situation, a shocking incident occurs which forces the friends to pore over the conversations and behaviour that led to this devastating point, revealing an alarming web of casual deceit. About Elly focuses on the country's middle class, illustrating how convention, conformity and tradition can be restrictive, even among those who fool themselves into thinking they are not guided by such things. A supremely sophisticated drama with impeccably handled shifts in tone, the film establishes writer-director Asghar Farhadi (Beautiful City, Fireworks Wednesday) as one of Iranian cinema's prominent and distinctive voices.
Ajami is a tough Jaffa neighborhood, populated with Jews, Arabs and Christians, and rife with tension. Omar (Shahir Kabaha) and his younger brother Nasri (Fouad Habash) fear repercussions against their family when their uncle shoots a member of an influential criminal clan. They can end the vendetta by paying a substantial cash tribute to the offended family, and need to raise the money fast. Palestinian refugee Malek (Ibrahim Frege) is also desperate for money, for an operation his mother needs, and works illegally at a restaurant. Binj (Scandar Copti) has had enough of the place and his friends, and dreams of leaving so he might live openly with his Jewish girlfriend. Cop Dando (Eran Naim) is haunted by the disappearance of his brother, who went missing while on military service. As more is revealed about the characters' lives, angers and frustrations, their fates become drawn together. The fact that Ajami – a powerful crime drama set on the mean streets of Israel – is a collaboration between two young directors, Scandar Copti, a Palestinian, and Yaron Shani, an Israeli, serves as a statement in itself. Working with a non-professional cast and using a daring narrative structure, Copti and Shani have created an assured and authentic film of genuine class.
Sobre la segunda, Ariel Hirschfeld escribe un artículo en Haaretz. La película será presentada a los Oscar.
One of the rare achievements of "Ajami" is its unique handling of Israeli political tensions (which are not at all limited to those between Jews and Arabs; the film also spotlights a host of inter-Arab tensions). These tensions are not present here as ideologies, but as almost subconscious identities and as a mental condition passed from one person to the next. Everyone here is suffering from extreme tension and is on the verge of crisis or beyond it.