About Elly (2009) ✭✭✭✭½
Asghar Farhadi constructs his films the way bricklayers build houses. Slowly and methodically each tiny, humble piece of his narrative is put into place and linked together, eventually creating a strong and spellbinding structure. At first, About Elly appears to be a lighthearted and humorous story of a group of friends on a poorly planned seaside vacation. But this Iranian version of The Big Chill soon takes a chilling turn, as Farhadi introduces a surprising catalyst that will alter the film to its core, and ultimately reveal all his characters' falsehoods and frailties. About Elly becomes an intense drama that never lets up. It is demanding to watch, not all together pleasant, and some viewers will find its resolution unsatisfying. But it's one of those films you don't soon forget.
Local Color (2014) ✭✭✭
Amusing liberal fantasy about political strife giving way to racial harmony in a small town in Provence. Beautiful scenics and equally beautiful ideas.
This May-December romantic tale runs a little long and strains credulity before all is said and done. Michael Caine's American accent is all over the place and not that good. Worth it for Clémence Poésy
and beautiful shots of Paris.