Amir Soltani

festival programmer and occasional writer

Favorite films

  • In a Lonely Place
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • Where Is My Friend's House?
  • Tabu

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  • Alphaville

    ★★★½

  • The Vampires or, The Arch Criminals of Paris

    ★★★★

  • Secret Honor

    ★★½

  • Steamboat Round the Bend

    ★★★½

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  • Klute

    Klute

    ★★★★½

    It's almost as if this was tailor-made for my taste. If there's ever been a film that managed to visualize the sense of paranoia with just the framing of every shot better than Klute does, I haven't seen it. A psychological thriller with expert camera work—the light vs. shadows games it plays, especially when framing Jane Fonda against others, is brilliant—and inescapably eerie music with two god-level performances, all while subverting (through actual therapy!) our expectations of the "saviour complex" trope in narratives about sex workers. What more can you ask for?

  • L'Avventura

    L'Avventura

    ★★★★★

    It's no mean feat to invent a whole new cinematic language through which bourgeois ennui and emotional detachment and existential crises can be studied by purely visual means, or to convey human emotions and psyches through landscape and architecture and, very often, without words altogether. This is a film in which the sight of a decaying monument or the sound of church bells or the smallest gesture of a hand can signify a world of meaning. I used to think…

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  • Nightmare Alley

    Nightmare Alley

    ★★½

    The modern Hollywood tendency to extend and expand and over-explain pre-existing material really buries this one. I've never really been a big fan of Del Toro, whose films feel soulless despite their extravagance, but his visual indulgences do actually make the first half of this film a bit livelier than Goulding’s version. And yet...that original film is by no means flawless and suffers from the director’s dull approach, but its problem certainly isn’t that it's too short, or that it…

  • Belfast

    Belfast

    ★½

    Are TIFF audiences okay???