Friday, August 2, 2013
THE GARDENER isn't one of the weirder hybrid documentaries in quite awhile, I'll be surprised. Paid for, I'd guess, by the Committee to Make the Baha'i Religion a Household Word, this nearly (and oddly) humor-free mockumen-tary supposedly tracks the adventures of an Iranian father/
son team as it visits Israel and the huge and beautiful garden taken care of by a disciple of the Baha'i religion, who is happy -- as are all the other acolytes rounded up by the filmmakers -- to give us a grounding in this unusual religion, which appears determined to keep itself abreast of modernity in a changing world. Amen to that, as too many religions seem content to continue mimicking the dark ages.
The Canyons one day to a film about religion and the betterment of the world the next. Where else could your interest move from A to Z so quickly? Unfortunately in this case, neither film is very good. The writer/director of The Gardener is Mohsen Makhmalbaf, shown at left, who earlier gave us Kandahar and The Silence. Here he is trying something quite different: style-wise, you might call it a kind of hybrid documentary in which father and son explore a religion new to them, as it is banned in their home country of Iran.
Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills and on Friday, August 9, in New York City at the Quad Cinema. Any further screenings (you can request one by clicking here), I imagine, will be listed on the film's web site. Eventually, I'd guess, we'll be able to see the movie on DVD, VOD and digital outlets.