News / Arts & Entertainment

Indonesia Massacre, Iran Sanctions Infuse Venice Film Offerings

The shoes of a model appear on the red carpet ahead of the screening of
The shoes of a model appear on the red carpet ahead of the screening of "La Rancon de la gloire" (The Price of Fame), 71st Venice Film Festival, Aug. 28, 2014.
Reuters

Films about a 1960s massacre in Indonesia and the harsh conditions in Iran under present-day international sanctions and how they affect ordinary people struck somber notes at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

A French caper based on a fictionalized version of a true story about the theft of Charlie Chaplin's coffin shortly after his death in 1977 was shown as another of 20 films in contention for the festival's top prize, to be awarded next week, and provided a macabre, touching and often humorous counterpoint.

Eugene Chaplin, Chaplin's son, said at a news conference he had been skeptical about cooperating on director Xavier Beauvois's “La rancon de la gloire” (The Price of Glory) because “I didn't see what could be funny about stealing a coffin”. But, after seeing Beauvois's films, “I thought, 'Why not?'"

American director Joshua Oppenheimer's competition film “The Look of Silence” is his second documentary based on death squads that roamed Indonesia in the wake of a failed communist-led coup attempt and killed as many as a million people. The first, “The Act of Killing” (2012), was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary category.

Asked at a press conference on Thursday why the credits for the new film, which had its premiere on Wednesday night, mostly read “anonymous,” Oppenheimer said the production crew was at risk if their identities were revealed.

“There is a grave political risk for anybody involved with the crew in Indonesia if their identities become known to the authorities, especially to the military and the paramilitary group that played such a prominent role in my previous film,” he said.

He also said that Adi Rukun, a traveling optometrist who meets with some of his brother Ramli's killers in the course of the new film, had to move to a different part of Indonesia due to concerns for his safety once the film was released.

Rukun, who is in his 40s, said he agreed to participate after seeing clips assembled by Oppenheimer that had showed him the magnitude and brutality of the killing, and convinced him the past had to be confronted to assure a better future.

“I only want the perpetrators to acknowledge and admit what they did and to acknowledge that they were wrong so that we would somehow be able to actually forgive each other and live together, that's all I wanted from those confrontations,” he said in remarks translated into English.

“We live in one community which is split by mutual feelings of suspicion and fear and I really want all of this to end.”

Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad said she had not had to film underground in Iran where her film “Ghesseha” (Tales) was shot, at least in part with a digital camera that with its grainy images emphasizes the grittiness of life in Tehran.

“The main thing is that the story, the project, needs to be accepted within the country, it needs to reflect peoples' lives,” she said after the film's first festival screening.

What it shows in a bleak and desolate-seeming Tehran is the lives of people with barely enough money to survive being made more miserable by a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, unemployment, drug addiction and spousal abuse.

In one case a functionary will not listen to an elderly former civil servant's plea to recoup crippling medical costs because the bureaucrat is more interested in taking a call from his mistress.

Also shown are the aimless and drug-scarred lives of young people who cannot get proper jobs, like a formerly promising university student named Hamed who was expelled for his political views and now drives a taxi cab part-time, helping chauffeur people to and from a center that helps battered wives.

Bani-Etemad, who is one of Iran's best known directors, said that the film was intended in part to show how the international sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program have had a devastating effect on daily life.

“The economic situation in Iran is critical and this is due to the embargo which actually penalized the people in the country,” she said. “Our children, who suffer from very severe diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis, are actually suffering from the consequences of the embargo.”

She urged people at “the international level” to realize that “international decisions always affect the people.”

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”