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TICKETS (directors: Abbas Kiarostami/Ken Loach/Ermanno Olmi; screenwriters: Abbas Kiarostami/Paul Laverty/Ermanno Olmi; cinematographers: Mahmoud Kalari/Chris Menges/Fabio Olmi; editors: Babak Karimi/Jonathan Morris/Giovanni Ziberna; music: George Fenton; cast: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (PR Lady), Blerta Cahani (Albanian immigrant mother), Klajdi Qorraj (Albanian immigrant kid), Martin Compston (Jamesy, Celtic Fan), Sanije Dedja (Grandmother), Carlo Delle Piane (Professor), Silvana De Santis (Grandmother), Gary Maitland (Spaceman), William Ruane (Frank), Filippo Trojano (Filippo), Roberto Nobile (Ticket Collector); Runtime: 115; MPAA Rating: NR; producers:Babak Karimi/Rebecca O’Brien/Domenico Procacci/Carlo Cresto-Dina; Facets Video; 2005-Italy/UK/Iran-in Italian, English and Farsi, with English subtitles)
These type of portmanteau films seldom work out as well as does this one.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An omnibus film that’s directed by the three following acclaimed international realistic filmmakers: Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami (“Taste of Cherry”), England’s Ken Loach (“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”) and Italy’s Ermanno Olmi (“The Tree of Wooden Clogs”). These type of portmanteau films seldom work out as well as does this one. All three tales take place on the same train on the same day, that goes from Austria to Rome.

The neo-realist Olmi aesthetically tracks an Italian grandfather science professor (Carlo Delle Piane), who is seated in his first-class dining car and his mind wanders as he becomes preoccupied with working on his laptop, has fantasy thoughts of his beautiful and kindly PR rep (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) in Austria, his concerns about getting home in time to celebrate his grandson’s birthday, and by observing through the glass coach door in the next car the interactions of a poor refugee Albanian family being watched by the soldiers (on the lookout for terrorists).

Kiarostami follows with a disturbing elliptical tale of the strange relationship between a domineering obnoxious obese older woman, the widow of a general (Silvana De Santis), and the handsome polite young serviceman (Filippo Trojano), who in lieu of military duty is assigned to serve the widow. He reluctantly looks after her until she insults him once too often and he bolts, despite the certain repercussions to follow.

Loach, whose segment is the most appealing, concludes with a tense but rousing story about three loud-mouth numskull Scottish soccer fans (Martin Compson, Gary Maitland, William Ruane) who encounter Olmi’s cash-strapped refugee family while on their way to a Celtic soccer match in Rome and the profane working-class lads have to make a decision about whether they can help the refugees even if it means they risk finding themselves in a jam.

Tickets uses a public travel storyline as a metaphor for how Europe is troubled in dealing with its immigration problem, wishing to ignore it as an inconvenience. But for the refugees their plight is a matter of life and death.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”