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Masterpiece Cinema - In This World

 article about Top movie reviews
In This World Starring: Jamal Udin Torabi and Enayatullah.
Written by: Tony Grisoni
Directed by: Michael Winterbottom.
Genre: Drama.
Released: 2002.
Running time: 88 mins.
Rated: R (American rating for brief strong language).
IMDb link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0310154/


Michael Winterbottom's latest film, 9 Songs, has just opened down here
in Australia. Winterbottom, a bold and innovative director, has an
amazingly impressive work ethic, releasing films so regularly you
wonder where he finds the time to make them all. He's also a director
who's not afraid to take chances, often having quite shocking material
in his work, but material that's always there for a purpose.

I
saw 9 Songs the other night and, I have to say, I wasn't all that
impressed. One of my main problems with it was the techniques he
utilized to make the film seem like a documentary. It robbed the film
of a great deal of power, making it feel washed out and unengaging.
This isn't the first time Winterbottom has used this method, however.
In his 2002 film In This World, he shot everything in a very low-tech,
documentary fashion, with dramatically different results. What didn't
work for 9 Songs worked beautifully for In This World, and helped to
give an insight into an ordeal that far too many people face in this
day and age.

Based on a true story, In This World follows two
Afghan refugees, Enayat and Jamal, as they attempt to smuggle
themselves from a camp in Peshawar through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey,
so that they can begin new lives in England.

Here in Australia
the issue of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants is a highly volatile
topic, but it's one that's never really handled by the media with much
depth or sense of understanding. What's remarkable about In This World
is how painstaking it is. Every step of Enayat and Jamal's journey is
covered in the film, portraying the turmoil that refugees go through
just for the chance – the simple chance – of living a better, safer
life.

Though the film starts slowly, it's not long before
you're entirely invested in Enayat and Jamal's fate. The fact that
Winterbottom shot everything as if a documentary crew was simply
following the pair lends an intense feeling of reality to the film,
which makes a certain scene in the cargo container of a freight ship
all the more excruciating to watch.

I might not have cared all
that much for 9 Songs, but I'll never forget the experience of sitting
and watching In This World in the theatre for the first time. It was an
intense, eye-opening experience, and one that I highly recommend. You
might not enjoy the film as such, but you'll be very grateful for what
it has to say.

Next week: Something a little less intense, perhaps.



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