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Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The Poetic Trilogy Blu-ray Review

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Arrow Academy releases a trilogy of work from Iranian screenwriter and director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The home video release of “Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The Poetic Trilogy” is composited of “Gabbeh,” “The Silence,” and “The Gardener.” “Gabbeh” concerns an elderly couple that washes a Persian rug and discovers that the woman featured on the rug comes to life. We the audience learn about this woman, her family, and her desire to marry a young horseback rider. “The Silence” revolves around a blind boy (Khorshid) in Tajikistan who tunes instruments in order for his mother and he to make ends meet. The boy is constantly distracted by music making him late for work. Finally, “The Gardener” is a documentary film in which Mohsen Makhmalbaf and his son Maysam travel to Israel to explore the religion Baha’i.

The work of Mohsen Makhmalbaf may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his films are still an important part of world cinema in that they artistically depict specific cultures while also delving into weighty subjects such as love, music, nature, disabilities, and faith.

“Gabbeh” and “The Silence” are a bit of a rocky watch as the stories are thin and the cast clearly has non-professionals (especially “The Silence”), but the fairy tale love story of “Gabbeh” and the slice of life tale of “The Silence” are still poignant pieces. “The Gardener” is easily the best of the three and it’s also the most intriguing in that it doesn’t unfold like a typical documentary (you’ll have to see what I mean for yourself). The film is a colorful and moving doc about what the Baha’i faith means to people. There’s also an engaging father-son element to it as well.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: “The Gardener” in 1.78:1 1080p while “Gabbeh” and “The Silence” are in 1.85:1 1080p. How do they look? “Gabbeh” has the weakest transfer as it is filled with scratches and grain but it’s still solid enough. “The Silence” transfer is sharp while “The Gardener” easily looks the best (it’s also the most recent).

Audio Track: Farsi Uncompressed LPCM Mono for “Gabbeh” and “The Silence” and Stereo for “The Gardener.” How do they sound? “Gabbeh” is scratchy but OK, “The Silence” sounds low but it’s decent. “The Gardener” is a quality Stereo track.

Extras:
* A thick booklet containing photos, credits, a piece by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an essay by author and cultural critic Negar Mottahedeh, and a piece from Film Comment by Godfrey Cheshire.
* Stills galleries
* 2 trailers for “Gabbeh” and one for “The Silence” and “The Gardener.”
* Commentary on Gabbeh by Godfrey Cheshire.
* “Poetry In Motion: An Interview With Mohsen Makhmalbaf.”
* “Mohsen With Closed Eyes”- An archival interview with Mohsen about “The Silence.”

March 30, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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