THE OPINION OF THE “WORLD” − NOT TO BE MISSED
In Iranian auteur cinema, as it happens to us in France, two major trends of realism are emerging: filmmakers for whom reality is a trap (school Asghar Farhadi) and those for whom it is an enigma (school Abbas Kiarostami). The first lean on the word to plant the social theater of the case of conscience, the second on the space to inscribe contemplative trajectories there.
Hadi Mohaghegh, born in 1979, in Dehdasht, in the Iranian Southwest, belongs to this second category, according to The smell of the wind, his fourth feature film and the first to be released in France. Shot in the Tchaharmahal-and-Bakhtiari regions, the splendid film is steeped in rocky landscapes, barely populated solitudes, barely traced paths, to redefine the terms of the human adventure in its own way.
Of a mineral simplicity, the postulate consists of nothing other than the meeting between two men. The first is an herbalist, whom we discover on the mountainside harvesting the plants he trades in the form of preparations. Suffering from a malformation in his leg, which makes it difficult for him to move around, he watches over a sick little boy, in a house in the heart of a solitary plain, in which one day the shots come to blow. Then lands the second: the electrician commissioned to repair the transformer, played by the director himself (who, before moving behind the camera, had a first career as an actor). It is the latter who suddenly takes the reins of the story, and leads us through his steps.
Because, obviously, in such a remote land, nothing is self-evident. The important thing is not so much that there is a socket to change, but the almost insurmountable difficulty that the operation represents: equipment to unearth, distances to cover, breakdowns to resolve, local resistance to to overcome, temporary services to be rendered and so on, as if each gesture entailed a new complication, and each complication a new detour.
The film installs this miniature odyssey with static shots and durations that firmly anchor the action in the territory. The reliefs and the places are part of large frames which have the effect of relativizing the human presence, of subjecting its undertakings to the extent, to the distances to be crossed.
It is in this plastic approach to space that we recognize the manifest influence ofAbbas Kiarostami (1940-2016), less in mimicry than as an umed filiation. Like some of his films (The Taste of Cherry, The wind will take us), the world appears there as a mysterious writing, whose cursive lines are revealed by cinema, and to which only human trajectories give meaning. To this is added the characteristic topography of this Iranian South-West: dilapidated villages, green hills, powdery earth, aquamarine furrows of rivers, golden sunsets, a whole mineral world, depopulated, shimmering, of which we can only measure the ‘isolation.
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