Rethinking Iranian Cinema: Aesthetics and Counternarratives
Fat Shaker [Iran, 2013, 85 min]
Directed by Mohammad Shirvani
A singular, cryptic, and ambiguous object that surely breaks with and subverts the orthodoxies of Iranian art cinema, and may be the first hint of the emergence of a new, younger generation of filmmakers. The action centers on an obese con man who uses his deaf-mute, cute adult son as bait to extort money from predatory young women looking for a boy-toy—until the pair’s sketchy life on the social margins is inexplicably upended by the arrival of a mysterious woman who makes herself at home, with unexpected consequences. The film may be an allegorical attack on patriarchy, but its emphasis on the grotesque and the absurd, its off-kilter, unstable style, and its enigmatic refusal to define itself in narrative terms signal the emergence of a talent looking to break fresh ground.
Slaughterhouse [Iran, 2015, 24 min]
Directed by Behzad Azadi
Four teenage friends have big plans for their lives. They want to be rich in a short time by dealing drugs in the neighborhood. First, they have to test the drug they’ve got from the smuggler. But there’s an unexpected twist in the plan and the situation goes out of control.
With comments by Kamran Rastegar, Arabic and Comparative Literature, Tufts University