VIFF 2011 Reviews. How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster; A Separation.


Two winners today (Sunday, October 9)

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? Spain, 74 min.

The life and works of the prolific Manchester-born architect Norman Foster, designer of (among dozens of other works) the spectacular Millau Viaduct  and London’s Millennium Bridge. Brought up in working-class Levenshulme during the Second World War, Foster followed his artistic and mechanical bents into architecture. And a good thing, too. His work is spectacular (I know, I used this overworked word again, but it fits). Another great contribution from Manchester. (Now, if only we had the Beatles. . . . )

A Separation. Iran, 123 min.

Another winner from Iran. Simin is anxious to leave Iran, but her husband Nader clings to the responsibility of caring for his demented father. Each agrees to a divorce, but the sticking point is the custody of their 11-year-old daughter. Things get even more intense when the father’s hired caregiver, a pregnant Arab woman, claims Nader knocked her down stairs, causing a miscarriage. That constitutes murder in the view of Iran’s creaky legal system — a mixture of modernity and ancient traditions (which include the concept of blood money). The dramatic timing in this film is perfect.

About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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