The New Yorker:
The Iranian cinema’s world prominence is due largely to the films of the late Abbas Kiarostami, whose meticulously local, fastidious realism is built on a Möbius filmstrip of metafiction and self-implication. A standout feature at the Iranian Film Festival New York, which runs from January 10th through January 15th, at the IFC Center, was conceived in an entirely different vein, a brashly comedic, satirical one that nonetheless taps the same documentary-rooted reflexivity as Kiarostami’s art. It addresses, with a daring specificity, the very conditions of work and life in the place where it’s made.
“Pig,” written and directed by Mani Haghighi (and screening January 11th and January 14th), is a macabre mystery centered on a fictitious fifty-year-old Tehrani filmmaker, Hasan Kasmai (Hasan Majuni), an acclaimed artist who is enduring a ban from filmmaking by the censorious government. Hasan’s intense frustration at his inability to work threatens to disrupt his decade-long affair with his lead actress, Shiva Mohajer (Leila Hatami). She has stayed idle in devotion to Hasan and his work, but, when she’s offered a role with a filmmaker named Sohrab Saidi (Ali Mosaffa), whom Hasan despises, she’s tempted to take it. Then leading Iranian filmmakers, one by one, start turning up dead, decapitated, with the word “pig” (in Farsi) carved in blood into their foreheads. The murdered filmmakers whose names and faces are shown are real-life ones—including Haghighi himself. When Sohrab (a fictional character) is killed in the same way, Hasan becomes a prime suspect and tries to clear his name—even as he wonders why the killer hasn’t yet seen fit to target him.
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