Ten Little Indians (1974)

Ten Little Indians 1974 poster.jpeg

Everyone knows the story of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers, one of the most perfectly constructed of her mysteries and brought to the screen with the title And Then There Were None, by Rene Clair in 1945. It’s a classic. It was made again in the Sixites, set in an Alpine chalet. I didn’t much like the recent BBC mini-series which gave it a realistic colour scheme and took it very seriously which really isn’t the point, despite the casting (Aidan Turner, amongst others). It’s a rather nicely judged narrative experiment in human behaviour and as such has something of a scientific bent:  so this interpretation, which plays and looks like Antonioni took a hold of it, is a graphic and visual delight, all angles and space. It’s set in an Iranian hotel, the Shah Abbas, and  has a totally modernist scheme at odds with the historic location, which just enhances the concept. The cast of ten includes Richard Attenborough, Stephane Audran, Charles Aznavour, Adolfo Celi, Gert Frobe, Herbert Lom, Oliver Reed and Elke Sommer with a certain Orson Welles playing a rather cool cameo. Written and produced by Harry Alan Towers, who also made the 1965 version (with an uncredited contribution by Enrique Llovet) and directed by Peter Collinson.

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Abbas Kiarostami 22 June 1940-4 July 2016

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One thing you find in LA is there’s a helluva lot of Iranian and Iraqi taxi drivers and they are uniquely honoured (surprised, even) when you discuss the plight of their countries’ filmmakers who frequently work under the cosh of a demented fascist leadership. Iranian Abbas Kiarostami was a polymath who wrote, photographed and directed (not just features but shorts and documentaries) but mostly, he said of himself, he was ‘a story listener.’ He told beautiful and ironically subversive parables necessitated by political censorship but had a particular brilliance at looking at the world from the perspective of a child. Kiarostami’s death has been announced in a year which has been a cull of some of the most gifted creative people on the planet. RIP.