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TFF14 – The Price Of Fame/Rosewater

2014 September 5
by profwagstaff

THE PRICE OF FAME (aka, LA RACON DE LA GLOIRE, 2014)

Directed by: Xavier Beauvois
Written by: Etienne Comar

In 1977, an international icon died. Everyone loved Charlie Chaplin. (Well, except possibly a few hundred women and a couple of governments, but that’s beside the point.) His death was big news.

Chaplin was buried in Switzerland for political reasons (See? Governments.) and that brought an idea to a couple of petty thieves. Eddy and Osman (Benoit Poelvoorde and Roschdy Zem) were immigrants to Switzerland and were barely getting by. Eddy was a family man and Osman had just been released from prison when he Chaplin died. A couple of months later, he and Eddy decided to rob Chaplin’s grave and hold the body for ransom.

What they didn’t plan on was their own stupidity and the single-mindedness of Crooker (Peter Coyote), Chaplin’s…bodyguard? Butler? I’m not really sure what Crooker was to the family, but he was a man who could be a right bastard when he needed to be.

For such an outlandish story, The Price Of Fame is a fairly tame film. Instead of making it an outright comedy with two bumbling crooks stealing a body, Beauvois made a slightly funny drama about two men who are willing to do anything to make ends meet. Eddy is desperate to go straight and keep his wife happy while Osman just wants another score. He’s kind of an idiot and definitely the source of most of the comedy in the film.

Worth checking out, but not the best film of the festival, by far.
rosewater

ROSEWATER (2014)

Directed by: Jon Stewart
Written by: Jon Stewart
Based on book by: Maziar Bahari/Aimee Molloy

We all know Jon Stewart from The Daily Show, which means that we know what a political beast he is. What we didn’t know is that he has a serious side to him that can really shine.

Rosewater is the story of Mazair Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal), a journalist originally from Iran who has worked in the US for years. When he went back to Iran to write a story for Newsweek, a revolution broke out. He was detained and tortured for 118 days because the government wants to prove that he’s a spy who was trying to overthrow the government.

Part of the reasoning behind the detainment was a bit on The Daily Show where Bahari was interviewed by Jason Jones. Jones was playing the part of a spy.

Satire doesn’t translate particularly well, eh?

For a little over 100 minutes, we are truly with Bahari in that cell. He’s blindfolded, beaten, interrogated and thrown in solitary confinement for no apparent reason.

Rosewater is a rough movie, but it could have been a LOT harder to watch. Stewart shows restraint with the torture (I don’t even remember seeing any blood at all) and a sense of humor throughout. He makes the government agents holding Bahari look like complete idiots…which probably isn’t too terribly difficult, honestly.

Bernal is great as the tortured young man, but I do wonder how many people are going to wonder about a Mexican playing an Iranian. Well, at least he only had to put on an accent and not makeup or fake teeth.

This is a great film that I hope you get to see. Jon Stewart has the potential to be a really good political filmmaker, if that’s the direction he chooses to go. All the while, I’m sure he’ll keep his sense of humor even within the darkest of subjects.

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