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Foreign Comedy - Italy England Iran - Tickets

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach, Ermanno Olmi
Italian, English, Farsi
Facets Video 2006
115 minutes

Tickets is a movie for people who like intelligent films where the director's art and the story are primordial and action, comedy, and so on take a back seat. If you are an art house movie fan, this movie DVD is right up your alley. This movie is really a collage of three separate shorts by three very different world-class directors from three different countries done in three different languages. If you think this is a recipe for disaster you would usually be right but in Tickets the recipe works.

The premise of Tickets is people on a train. Italian director Ermanno Olmi opens this collaborative movie with a short (well, some 40 minutes) titled The Professor about an old man returning home by train after consulting for a pharmaceutical company in Europe. His train ride is an opportunity for him to recall his encounter with an assistant he has fallen in love with and to whom he is trying to write an email saying as much. This segment is about having a crush but it is also about the other people in the train, the subtle stress they all feel as there has been a security alert and security forces are very much present in the compartments. Olmi's segment is also a great lesson in how to make a movie. Not much goes on but all the scenes and images count. Unfortunately, however, the film fails to really engage and the tension caused by the threat and the soldiers on board a wet petard.

The second chapter of Tickets is The Widow by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. An older woman accompanied by a younger man who is her assistant boards the train and purposefully sits in the wrong seat. Kiarostami has a sense of humor and the scenes involving the cell-phone and the confrontation about the seating assignments is subtly funny. There is also something subtle about her envy of the beautiful women on board. Again, this is film making at its finest but again I failed to really be engaged. Interestingly enough, director Kiarostami did not pick up on the threat and soldiers Olmi put in part of this triptych.

The third section of Tickets is by British director Ken Loach. This story, about three soccer fans from Scotland who, on their way to see a game in Rome, are faced with a major decision, is the best of the three. The young woman with a baby in part 1 by Olmi is central to this last chapter of the movie. This is the most engaging and interesting section of Tickets though, interestingly enough, not the most dazzling cinematography wise.

Tickets, a compilation movie by directors Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach, and Ermanno Olmi is the kind of movie art house DVD film fans will very much enjoy. As for this mere mortal, I enjoyed the art but not the stories.

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