Shipshape - "Iron Island" Review

By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid

The Roxie opens a winner this week with "Iron Island," a film from Iran that graced this spring's SF International Film Festival. Directed by Mohammad Rasoulof, it takes place on an abandoned oil tanker sitting in the Persian Gulf. A community of Sunni-Arab outcasts, led by Captain Nehmat (Ali Nasirian), occupies its rusting nooks and crannies. Many small dramas unfold within the ship's bowels, from a small boy who collects trapped fish to an illicit romance between the Captain's young charge (Hossein Farzizadeh) and an already-engaged young woman (Neda Paakdaman). This small community comes to an end when the shipboard teacher discovers that the craft is slowly sinking. Rasoulof guides his jumble of storylines like a master storyteller, balancing small moments of beauty, mystery, terror and humor -- as well as the larger parable. Like Claire Denis' recent "The Intruder," sensation sometimes outweighs plot, so just breathe and let it take you for a ride.

Originally Published June 30, 2006



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