Smell of Camphor Fragrance of Jasmine is nothing if not a poetically titled film. But actually it is a deadpan death comedy that - while funny in parts - is a little too flat.
Like a good many Iranian films this one - directede by Bahman Farmanara - has a meta-narrative driving it. Meaning it has a self consciousness that combines real life with fiction. In this case Farmanara has been hired to make a film about funerals for a Japanese television station. In the process of getting together the film he is feeling his own mortality dealing with the aches and pains of old age and sorting out various problems with his friends and family.
Lightly humorous and rather intellectual in parts the film may work on the big screen but on the small screen it just sort of sits there. Critical kudos on the DVD box cite the film as having Woody Allen and Federico Fellini traits but that might just be because it is about a filmmaker who stars in his own film as well as a filmmaker dealing with a [late] midlife crisis and making a film about it. Other than that the comparisons are not just.
There are some humorous moments toward the beginning and a final dream-vision scene that stands out. And clearly Farmanara has a vision and something to say - enough so that the film may have it admirers.
The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and looks below average. The colors are muted and the print that was used shows age. The film is however compatiable for 16 x 9 televisions.
The film is in Farsi with optional English subtitles. It sounds fine. There is a good classical music score throughout.
There are no extras for the film. There are however a bunch of trailers for other films.
Smell of Camphor Fragrance of Jasmine is a decent Iranian film that is of interest to people who like Iranian film and maybe for people who like self-conscious films about filmmakers dealing with a late midlife crisis. Funny in parts but overall a bit flat. If interested then rent it.