SFIFF Preview: The Last Step

Last night, as the San Francisco International Film Festival opened, I found time to preview one more festival film.

C The Last Step, New People Cinema, Saturday, May 4 7:00, Wednesday May 8 6:15, Thursday May 9 1:00. Astonishingly, considering recent crackdowns, the Iranian film industry can still make daring, cutting-edge cinema. Unfortunately, not imageeverything that’s daring and cutting edge works. In this interesting but ultimately disappointing work, an actress (Leila Hatami of A Separation) can’t keep a straight face when filming a monolog about her dead husband. It doesn’t help that the actress’ recently-deceased husband is on the set and talking to her. Through much of the film her husband is still alive, and seemingly courting death with one dangerous act after another. The real movie and the movie inside the movie appear to be quite possibly the same. This may sound like 8 1/2, but writer/director Ali Mosaffa lacks the light touch that makes Fellini’s masterpiece work. On the other hand, Leila Hatami’s expressive and open face makes anything she’s in at least partially worth seeing.