Daily Archives: April 10, 2018

THE HUNTER

Written for the January/February 2012 Film Comment. — J.R.

The Hunter

The Hunter
(Rafi Pitts, Germany/Iran)
A Separation, equally pleasing to mullahs and Western viewers, got all the prizes for its clever manipulations, but Pitts’s singular puzzle thriller, which also strategically withholds narrative information and can never be shown in Iran, is the one I keep thinking about. (Class warfare is the true, undeclared subject of both films.) Pitts plays a Tehran night watchman who starts shooting cops at random after losing his wife and child just before the country’s stolen election. The film’s second act shifts radically in style, locale, and focus, like On Dangerous Ground. —Jonathan Rosenbaum

From Cinema Scope #46 (Spring 2011). — J.R.

The-Hunter-collage

Underneath the Persian credits, over heavy metal music, the camera roams around inside a colour photograph, grazing over pointillist surfaces and male faces — finally pulling back to reveal the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps in 1983, getting ready to drive their motorcycles over a huge replica of the American flag on the pavement in front of them. Cut to black and the film’s title, The Hunter.

TheHunter-1st shot

Cut to a highway tunnel, then to a rifle being loaded in the woods, then to the same title hero (played by the writer-director, Rafi Pitts) holding the rifle in front of a raging campfire at night.… Read more »

Global Discoveries on DVD: Hosannas and Quibbles

Published in Cinema Scope No. 65, Winter 2016. — J.R.

pasolinidvd_web

I can easily understand why some of Abel Ferrara’s biggest fans have certain reservations about his Pasolini (2014), available now on a splendid Region 2 Blu-ray from the BFI.  Even if it’s a solid step forward from the stultifying silliness of Welcome to New York (2014), it lacks the crazed, demonic poetry of Bad Lieutenant (1992), The Addiction (1995), and New Rose Hotel (1998); most disconcertingly, it’s a responsible, apparently well-researched treatment of one of the most irresponsible of film artists, made by another film artist generally cherished for his own irresponsibility. And stylistically, it’s almost as if Ferrara has moved from being the great-grandson of F.W. Murnau to being the grandson of Vincente Minnelli—although one could argue, more precisely, that it isn’t really an auteur film at all. Yet as a portrait of the great and uncontainable Pier Paolo Pasolini, filtered through the last day of his life—a day focused on new creative work (a novel in progress and a film in pre-production) as well as various other activities, at home and on the street—it carries an undeniable conviction and emotional authenticity, which  might make the prosaic strengths of Lust for Life (1956) a more useful model for Ferrara’s ambitions here than the poetic flourishes of a Faust (1926) or Tabu (1931).… Read more »