Sometimes, amid all of the wine and international intrigue, I forget that this lil’ fest we have in our town is about more than getting pathologically drunk on other people’s dime, and that FILMS are the focus. So last night I bit the bullet and actually went to a movie, an Iranian production called Death is My Profession, which is a cool name for a flick.
Despite the rather repressive political and social environment, Iran consistently cranks out good movies, and this film, while no masterpiece, was still pretty cool. It’s about three out-of-work village dudes who try to steal valuable electrical cables from one of those massive metal towers on a mountainside. The whole operation turns out to be a disaster. Their buddy touches the wrong wire and is immediately crispy-crittered, Jimmy Dean style; they then get caught by some other villagers. There’s a big brawl and one of them hacks a wizened old man’s face off with a very nasty agricultural instrument. The murderer hoofs it away while his homeboy gets the crap kicked out of him and then arrested. The rest of the film deals with their struggles in and out of captivity.
Most foreigners probably think that Iran is just one giant desert, but it turns out that a decent chunk of the Islamic Republic consists of gnarly, ice covered mountains. This movie takes place near the top of these peaks, with about 45 minutes of shots of miserable people trudging through snow and wanting to die. By the end I too felt like dying, but I think that was the point.
It turns out that, before becoming a filmmaker, the director was Iran’s national boxing champion. I think that’s cool. Can you imagine if they let Mike Tyson make movies? I always like it when important artists could actually kick your ass in real life. That’s why I can never get behind Tom Cruise, but will always respect Russell Crowe.
After the movie I met up with Haps editor in chief, Bobby McGill, at the Japanese Night Party, where I noshed on sushi and seafood and took in the sites, which included a number of comely J-actresses.
Later we moved up to Portugal Night, which, despite the lovely wine which poured in profusion, ended up being a bit dull. But our old BIFF comrade B.R. Myers was there, holding court, and we soon joined forces, gate crashing the exclusive Director’s Night at the Busan Aquarium, where Myers and I swapped war stories from the trenches of independent publishing, and McGill accosted strangers while sneaking smokes in the bathroom.
Now that the crowds have thinned out, I will be taking in movies all this week, and may even stay sober for a day or two…though that doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?
You can read more from Tharp on his Hap’s columnist page.
Photo, left to right: B.R. Myers, Chris Tharp, Bobby McGill