Deaf Crocodile and vinegar syndrome have announced that they will be releasing the box set The Time-Wasting Secrets of Shahram Mokri on Blu-Ray on June 28, 2022. The Blu-ray box set includes his groundbreaking Iranian films CAREFREE CRIME (2020), FISH & CAT (2013), INVASION (2017) and ASHKAN, THE ENCHANTED RING & THE OTHER TALES (2008), who cross the line between art house and genre films in their surreal tales of serial killers and hang-gliders, new wave vampires and incendiaries lost in time.
The Special Edition Box Set includes a new 4-part video interview with Mokri about his career and the making of his films; Behind-the-scenes footage of CARELESS CRIME with new commentary by Mokri; a new English translation of an essay on Mokri’s breakout film FISH & CAT from Iranian cinema magazine “24” by author Mohammad Vahdani; and a detailed cartoon map of the dramatic action in FISH & CAT, also from 24 magazine. Get the details below!
Summary: what is time what is memory Are we in the past or the present – or are we a strange, unknown mix of both, plagued by arsonists, bloodsuckers, serial killers and identikit images of ourselves? Iranian director Shahram Mokri’s films move on the border between genre and art house cinema, whether it’s Möbius strip meditations on classic American slasher films of the 1970s (FISH & CAT), political thrillers (CARELESS CRIME) or new wave – 1980s sci-fi/vampire movies (INVASION) or unconventional Jarmusch-meets-Tarantino indie mysteries (ASHKAN, THE HOLY RING & OTHER STORIES). It is no wonder that in his last film 24 FRAMES, Abbas Kiarostami left a cryptic message on the screen in Persian which simply read: “Shahram Mokri”.
CAREFREE CRIME (JENAYAT-E BI DEGHAT), 2020, Iran, Deaf Crocodile Films (USA), 134 min. One of the most dazzling and enigmatic films of recent memory, Iranian director Shahram Mokri’s mind-boggling mystery bounces back and forth between past and present, fact and fiction, to create an unforgettable image of time, not as a straight line, but as an elastic, constantly rotating Moebius strip. Inspired by a real-life tragedy, the infamous 1978 Cinema Rex fire that started the Iranian Revolution, CARELESS CRIME follows three “timelines” – of arsonists plotting to burn down a cinema; of workers and students in the cinema; and of characters within the film screening at the cinema – all of which may or may not be happening simultaneously. There are many comparisons to the work of Chris Marker (LA JETEE), to Hitchcock’s VERTIGO, to Wojciech Has’ THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT, but Mokri’s film is a great, multi-faceted puzzle box in its own right. Time, and the way cinema portrays it, are truly the protagonists in CARELESS CRIME, who alternately amplify and frustrate – all fueled by a tragedy so gruesome it literally punches a hole in the fabric of reality has burned. Starring Babak Karimi, Abolfazl Kahani, Adel Yaraghi, Behzad Dorani, Elaheh Bakhshi. (In Persian with English subtitles.) Winner of the Bisato d’Oro Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 77th Venice Film Festival, 2020. Winner of the Silver Hugo Jury Prize at the 2020 Chicago International Film Festival.
FISH & CAT (MAHI VA GORBEH), 2013, Iran (Deaf Crocodile, USA), 134 min. A group of attractive young Iranian kite-flying enthusiasts gather by a murky lake near a restaurant where two sinister figures straight out of the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE are making grisly serve food. Shahram Mokri’s groundbreaking second feature film is an unclassifiably brilliant single-shot meditation on 1970s American slasher films like FRIDAY THE 13th, but filtered through a purely art-house lens. Eerie, circular, and overwhelmingly mysterious, with strange and unexpected touches, strange tales of phantom lights, and an insistent, repetitive dream logic, FISH & CAT is a “horror” film in the same way Tarkovsky’s STALKER is “science fiction.” Starring Babak Karimi, Saeed Ebrahimifar, Abed Abest, Ainaz Azarhoush. (In Persian with English subtitles.)
ASHKAN, THE ENCHANTED RING AND OTHER TALES (ASHKAN, ANGOSHTAR-E MOTEBAREK VA DASTAN-HAYE DIGAR), 2008, Iran (Deaf Crocodile, USA), 92 min. Director Shahram Mokri’s first feature film is a delightfully offbeat black-and-white comedy about the mysterious workings of fate, played out in deadpan Jim Jarmusch-meets-Quentin Tarantino-esque vignettes. Two blind jewel thieves, a young man who fails to kill himself, a police officer in love, and two coroners find their lives linked when an unusual fish is released and an enchanted ring is moved. Look out for sly references to film noir classics like LE SAMOURAI and KISS ME DEADLY in this wonderful and eccentric Iranian gem. Starring: Saeed Ebrahimifar, Sina Razani, Reza Behboudi, Siamak Safari, Ali Sarabi, Pegah Tabasinejad. (In Persian with English subtitles.)
INVASION (HOJOOM)2017, Iran (Deaf Crocodile, USA), 102 min. Director Shahram Mokri’s third and most formally challenging film sets the time-wasting single-shot experiments of FISH & CAT (and later CARELESS CRIME) in a sci-fi/detective film away.
The Blu-ray box set includes:
- The very first US release of all 4 groundbreaking features of Mokri [Features in Persian with English subtitles]
- ASHKAN, THE ENCHANTED RING AND OTHER TALES (ASHKAN, ANGOSHTAR-E MOTEBAREK VA DASTAN-HAYE DIGAR), 2008, 92 min.
- FISH & CAT (MAHI VA GORBEH), 2013, 134 min.
- INVASION (HOJOOM), 2017, 102 mins
- CAREFREE CRIME (JENAYAT-E BI DEGHAT), 2020, 134 min.
- New 4-part video interview with Shahram Mokri about his career and the making of ASHKAN, FISH & CAT, INVASION and CARELESS CRIME (total 225 min, in Persian with English subtitles)
- Behind the scenes of CARELESS CRIME with new commentary by Shahram Mokri (23 mins, in Persian with English subs)
- New English translation of author Mohammed Vahdani’s essay (originally published in 24 magazine)
- Detailed map of the dramatic plot in FISCH & KATZE (originally published in “24” magazine)
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