I watched an interesting film last night called Tickets. Divided into three parts, each directed and written by a different person, it follows several characters on board a train to Rome. To my pleasant surprise, I found out at the end of the credits that one of the episodes was directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Which would perhaps explain why two of the characters (albeit they were very peripheral to the story) were Iranian. Another director is Ken Loach, a famous British director , although I only knew of him to this day as the director of Terrence Stamp's sixties film Poor cow. (And even that, only because Steven Soderbergh famously used footage of it for his film "the Limey", which is in my top ten film favorites of all time). The other episode is directed by Italian director Ermanno Olmi.
There have been several film experiments with co-directors. Coppola, Scorsese and Woody Allen for example did a trio of short films combined into New York Stories. Tarantino, Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell did Four Rooms and recently, Tarantino and Rodriguez collaborated again with Grindhouse. What I found in those previous experiments was a complete disconnection between the different parts of the film. You may argue that's the point of having different people at the helm. I disagree. Tickets was successful because, though each part tries to achieve something unique, the whole film still remains very united and works well as a whole. Rather than each director trying to show off and upstage each other, they manage to complement each other's style and theme while remaining true to themselves.
There is a wide variety of content and style and each episode is very open to interpretation. For me, the first episode, with its paranoid checkpoints, dour-faced militray personnel roaming the train cars like Gestapo during World War II, and the simple act of solidarity that the main character struggles with, is a perhaps too obvious political allegory of post-September 11 police state like governments. It concludes with the predictable ending that humanity and love can overcome aggression and hate, if only one person stands up to it.
The second episode, directed by Kiarostami, mixes the comic and the tragic superbly in the story of a cantankerous old woman who is making life hell for her young, sensuous assistant. The third episode will leave you with a wide grin as you can't help but go along with the funloving characters of three young Scottish supermarket workers on their way to a football game who are suddenly faced with life-changing decision to help some Albanian refugees at the cost of their own freedom.
A bonus is that a lot of the scenes seem improvised and the actors run wild with it. I thoroughly enjoyed how realistic the dialogue was as well as the mixing of all the different languages, dialects and accents. I would recommend Tickets for anyone who is a film fan.
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