Thursday, September 20, 2018


Los Angeles is a strange place with its own unique set of rules (much like any popular city). Filmmaker Amir Motlagh taps in to this with his latest feature; Three Worlds - a story that mixes semi-personal journal entries with the existential drama found in the works of Terrence Malick or even Shane Curruth (Upstream Color to be specific). This is also an important film about cultural pride and the impact of therapy.
In the film we follow “Saam” (Motlagh) - a young man in the film industry who undergoes a life-altering therapeutic process that forces him to evaluate/reevaluate there different stages of his life (his real life, his subconscious life and a parallel universe).
This is an independent feature with subconscious ties to everything from the films of Jonas Mekas (the personal journal aspect) to Malick’s beautifully warped perception of Los Angeles found in Knight Of Cups (dark thoughts & actions combined with the beauty of the American west coast as the backdrop).

At first glance one might turn their face at the thought of comparing a movie like this to that of Jonas Mekas, but the insertion of Motalgh’s real home footage into Three Worlds reminded me of Mekas’ Journey To Lithuania (the comparison to Knight Of Cups is spot on. I don’t need to defend that one).

Home footage: Reminiscence Of A Journey To Lithuania / Three Worlds

Tarkovsky-esque moment: a contemplative drive in Solaris (L) & Three Worlds (R)

Amir Motlagh dispels some of the superficial stigmas put on Los Angeles while at the same time embraces the very real superficialities associated with L.A. (outside of Los Angeles being the epicenter of the entertainment industry, it’s a very cool city unlike any other if you know the right people).
And putting all Mekas/Malick comparisons aside, this is very much Motlagh’s own film. The movie is filled with obvious autobiographical content that comes off as genuine & organic as opposed to pretentious. That’s not an easy task with a film like this (ambient, sprawling, artistic and sometimes chaotic). A young filmmaker could easily get self-absorbed & pretentious with a movie like Three Worlds but that's not the case here.

Stills from Motalgh’s visually stunning feature...

While there is very much a plot to Three Worlds, it sometimes takes a back seat to the beautiful visuals and overall ambiance specific to Los Angeles. This will definitely require a second (or third) viewing. And that's a good thing. This isn't something to fully digest in one sitting.

In addition to checking out Motlagh’s latest feature (which you can rent and/or purchase through Vimeo), make sure to check out our interview on Zebras In America (below) as he’s quite the renaissance man.


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