Thursday 7 September 2023

See You Friday, Robinson [2022]

 Mitra Farahani is Iranian by descent and Parisian by residence; further, she produced Godard’s The Image Book and has been involved in the restoration of Ebrahim Golestan’s films. These parallel strands both informed and shaped her epistolary, experimental and irreverently staged documentary See You Friday, Robinson. In 2014 she engineered a weekly email correspondence between the trailblazing Franco-Swiss auteur and the relatively lesser known but nevertheless important Iranian filmmaker – both important cultural icons, but who’d never crossed paths despite having been key figures in French and Iranian New Waves, respectively, which happened concurrently – and as part of which the two veteran giants exchanged messages every Friday, over 29 weeks, from late-2014 to early-2015. Godard – being the gargantuan intellectual that he always was and the mischievous, elusive non-conformist that he remained until his demise – filled his mails with cryptic, satiric, pun-laden missives, and attachments that ranged from Goya to Matisse, and Shakespeare to Joyce. And, alongside these – in what remains a memorable takeaway for JLG aficionados – deadpan home-made videos of him chomping on his cigar, drinking red wine diluted by water, and even doing something as hilariously banal as hanging clothes to dry. Golestan’s responses were no less interesting, wryly expressing his inability to fully decipher the messages while emphatically acknowledging Godard’s brilliance. Golestan’s massive mansion, meanwhile, made for a dramatic contrast to Godard’s cosy house. In a poignant coincidence, both men experienced hospitalization and were reminded of their mortality during this period, which perhaps forged a deeper kinship. The film was whimsical, playfully essayistic and consciously oblique, even if lacking in any significant reflections or insights emerging out of its fascinating juxtaposition, and felt tad unfinished in its assemblage.

Director: Mitra Farahani

Genre: Documentary/Essay Film/Experimental Film

Language: Persian/English/French

Country: Iran

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