This Is a Really Good Film

Things are, as expected, kind of crazy right now--it's family stuff that I can't really talk about, but we've made some legal moves that will hopefully allow everyone to be taken care of in a way that is both effective and manageable for Team Responsible Adults. In the short term, it does mean a lot of extra work for me (I'm going to computerize things! A shocking idea, I know), but I'm hoping I can set things up so that I budget a certain amount of time for all that, and then can budget a certain amount of time for, you know, the stuff I actually enjoy doing. Like writing.

In the meantime, I watched This Is Not a Film, which is a movie about the Iranian film director Jafar Panahi and his experience being under house arrest and banned from making movies by the Iranian government.

It's excellent, but it's one of those movies (like Barton Fink or Adaptation) that is very much about being a creative person, which means that 95% of the people who watch it (even if they like it) really have no idea why it was made. The thing is, here's this guy who really is compelled to create, and he is prohibited from creating--so he's incredibly frustrated, which really brings out so much about the creative process because he's so nostalgic about it (plus he just can't not do it, no matter how dangerous it is).

The result is a movie that basically goes step-by-step through the various aspects of creativity: There's world creation (he literally tapes out a set onto his living-room rug), there's a whole meditation on how you start out making something but then it starts to make itself, and there's the fact that it's really therapeutic. At first Panahi's art is a welcome distraction from everything that's going on in the real world, but then what's going on in the real world become impossible to ignore (and there's that moment of guilt about having used art to escape). Finally, he gets behind the camera and starts making art out of what's going on!

Anyway, it's really brilliant--it's so much more than, "House arrest sucks!"--and I heartily recommend it. And obviously I hope Panahi gets his freedom sooner rather than later!