Woodpecker: A Film by Rouzbeh Rashidi

Rouzbeh Rashidi is an Iranian filmmaker living in Dublin, Ireland. This film is a portrait of a day in the life of a man who works at a convenience store. Rashidi doesn’t want to show you the things you might want to see in a person’s normal day. He is interested in minute and detailed impressions. He focuses closely on things and lets them speak for themselves. The film conveys an unsettling mystery through its calm observation and beautiful black and white photography.  One of the most interesting things about this film for me is simply how happy the film’s subject looks while he is working.

The filmmaker has a website.

Monologue Under White Light! – A Film by Samira Eskandarfar

A ravishing beauty from Iran! Look at this mysterious and subtle film by director Samira Eskandarfar. Her figures drift through time and space in a stage setting that seems open-ended and universal. The underlying themes and messages are probably far more complex than I can ascertain without a proper understanding of Iranian culture. But the film stands as a mysterious and slightly harrowing glimpse into the progress of attraction, love and communication between individuals.  The characters, played by Kazem Sayahi Saharkhiz and Faranak Miri, engage in mundane conversation, offer each other drinks, smoke cigarettes, make eyes at each other, play music on a tape recorder and disappoint each other in all the little ways of a normal life.  But they seem symbolic of something greater and perhaps very much to do with the filmmaker’s Iran.  There are some amazing artists working with enormous expressive power in Iran.  Samira Eskandarfar is one of them.

By the way, the filmmaker is also a painter.

Visit the filmmaker’s web site.

Freedom of Expression? Really? When Was the Last Time You Heard a Slave Speak Freely?

I found this Amnesty International video over at Silliman’s Blog today. It’s about the power of words to help defend freedom of expression around the world.  I’m all for that.  But can you take me seriously as a wealthy member of the Western world’s corporate structure?  The Amnesty video mentions a journalist jailed for ten years in China simply for sending an email.  So let’s stop and think for a bit about this ‘freedom of expression.’ Take China as an example.  The Chinese are essentially slave labor for the entire Western world.  They make our shirts, pants, toys, radios, shoes, dinnerware, jackets, telephones, etc.  They produce almost every single solid object you will touch during your day.  Everything.  They take their instructions from our corporations and they build these things for pennies a day.  They are slaves.  No doubt about it.  Their government is simply middle-management working for us.  So, while we may pretend to be interested in freedom of expression, we most certainly do not want our slaves talking freely.  Slaves who can speak their minds will gain their freedom and their hourly wages will increase.  They will no longer be our cheap labor – our slaves.  They will become expensive free thinkers just like us.  Our corporations and our politicians do not want freedom of expression for China under any circumstances whatsoever.  Morgan Freeman’s blazer was quite possibly made by a Chinese slave making 30 cents an hour.  When the Chinese decide that they want to fight for their freedom, they will be fighting us.  The world will change when the Chinese people shoot their leaders and lift their wages.  You think you’ve seen a global economic crash?  Just wait until our corporations can’t pay for their slaves in China anymore.  The bottom line has not changed for at least three hundred years: the world economy cannot function without slavery.

So the Amnesty video asks us for our words to help in the cause of freedom.  I’ve just written some.