Day four allowed me to leave the cramped Chinese apartment. Instead I moved to an era of Iran I thought never existed. If anything, we do not imagine Iran to be country of magnificent landscapes. Panahbarkhoda Rezaee’s film Daughter…Father…Daughter (2011) displays this strikingly.
The film is exactly what I call Slow Cinema; a slow narrative film with striking landscapes in the background, and a cinematographer who definitely has a photographic eye. I was debating with myself how best to write about this film, and I’m keen on showing you the beauty rather than writing about it. So this will be fairly short today.
Daughter… tells the story of three sisters living in a remote area of Iran with their father, whose house functions more or less as a small petrol station for people nearby. He’s old and frail. The economic situation is difficult, the petrol prices are on the rise. The four characters live in utter isolation, and it seems as though the television set they have in the house is the only connection to the outside world. And a small form of entertainment, though we mostly hear the news via an off-screen voice about political and economical turmoils.
Particularly striking in the film is the use of colour, or no colour at all. I’m still not entirely sure how to approach this. Initially I thought that the film was shot in (beautiful!) black-and-white. To me, this is the most wonderful use of black-and-white I have seen so far in a slow film. It is used to great effect especially because we’re in an area that is covered with thick layers of snow. So grayscale works well. However, when we are inside the house, I’m not so sure about the black-and-white anymore. It sometimes looks as if the director has chosen to use a very limited colour palette for indoor shootings. I’m pretty sure that the blanket one of the sister uses while watching TV is of red colour, as dull as the red is.
Interestingly enough, information from DreamLab Films reveal that the film is indeed shot in colour. This means that the director has done a remarkable job with lighting, and I wonder how exactly he has managed this in the middle of nowhere. Rezaee’s new film A Cradle for Mother (2013) premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival in June, and appears to have an anti rely different aesthetics. It may not even be slow. But this one definitely is. And it’s a beauty!