22 Dec 2019

Pig (Mani Haghighi, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Mani Haghighi makes the ultimate sacrifice by decapitating his own head and staging his own funeral in a metatextual twist of his latest offering praiseworthy for the opening credits alone which, as it later turns out, represent a hyper-stylized commercial for a bug spray directed by a blacklisted filmmaker protagonist, Hasan Kasmai. A seamless blend of arthouse cinema, screwball comedy and serial murder mystery, The Pig (Khook) works wonders on both personal and political level, self-ironizing an artist's ego, addressing the destructive power of social media, and sharply satirizing the Iranian society, particularly its censors. All the while, the joker-auteur's tongue is planted firmly in his cheek, with the entire cast obviously having a whale of a time – this goes double for Mina Jafarzadeh who plays Hasan's loving, riffle-wielding mother with gusto.

Drenched in garish, over-saturated colors of Mahmoud Kalari's sharp cinematography which beautifully captures Amir Hossein Ghodsi's neat set designs and Negar Nemati's oft-eccentric costumes, this wildly eclectic affair effortlessly glides between its farcical reality and a few dream sequences, not to mention a hilarious, neon-lit hard-rock hallucination. Around its mid-point, it even takes the viewer to a posh mask party that appears like an homage to the greatest scene of George Franju's Judex as if conceived by the techno-loving ghost of Federico Fellini! However, its focus remains mainly on the somewhat infantile and vainglorious, yet utterly sympathetic hero brilliantly portrayed by bushy-haired Hasan Majuni who wouldn't look out of place in some darkly humorous Spanish production, whether in or out of the red tutu dress...

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