Iranian teen's promising debut
OPENS JUNE 11, CERT 12A, 70 MINS
The Makhmalbafs are the first family of Iranian film?the Coppolas, if you like, of Middle Eastern cinema. Father Mohsen is a veteran director, and his daughter Samira, although only 22, has three pictures under her belt, the last of which, At Five In The Afternoon, was an acclaimed portrait of post-Taliban Kabul.
Now comes the debut film from Samira’s little sis, 14-year-old (yes, 14!) Hana. It’s a documentary about the filming of At Five In The Afternoon, concentrating on Samira’s attempt to cast non-professionals as her leads. As you’d expect from a film made by a 14-year-old, it’s rough and ready, and lacks the visual panache of its subject. But Joy Of Madness is also less didactic, full of touching portraits of ordinary people coping with life after the Taliban. Plus there’s a cherishable star turn from the indefatigable Samira as she cajoles bemused Afghanistanis into working for her. The film may be a bit slight to warrant a cinema release?its ideal home is surely as an extra on the At Five In The Afternoon DVD?but there’s still fascinating material here.