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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Foreign > Iran > Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine

Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: D†††† Film: B-



Bahman Farjami (writer/director Bahman Farmanara playing a variation of himself) has not been able to make a motion picture for twenty years, and now the former filmmaker begins to be taken in by the dread and feeling of death in Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine (2000), a dark comedy that is another of a recent cycle of films the last few years where the lead character has to deal with death while living miserably in a sense of soul.


This happened to the real life director when the 1979 revolution happened in Iran and extreme Islam took over the country.Though not bashing Islam, the film boldly criticizes its highjacking in visual ways that like the pain and feeling of death, are a subtle alarm that Islamo-Fascism is on the rise and how right he was.That many an American film has crossed into the same territory says something about the duel growth of neo-Conservatism and Political Correctness in the United States, and the ties of The Iran-Contra Affair alone prove the gap is not as wide as some would want to believe.The film has its dark comedy, but is always consistent in expressing the authentic feelings of being abandoned to the point that it feels like death is next.Under increasing state control and censorship, that should be no surprise.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is a bit off, looking like it was shot on video when it was really shot on film.Cinematographer Mahmood Kalari does come up with some memorable and funny images that appear just as you think the film will settle for more standard images and situations.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad and Ahmad Pejmanís music score quietly punctuates all the events of the film with an enhancing quality that further drives home the loss and pain the man who was one of Iranís premiere filmmakers suffered (and still suffers) for all the years of loss of not being able to express himself cinematically.Four trailers for other New Yorker titles and one for this film are the only extras, unfortunately, but Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine is a very interesting film worth a look despite covering ground we have seen covered before.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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