Pig (Melbourne International Film Festival)
Hassan Majooni, Leila Hatami, Parinaz Izadyar, Leili Rashidi
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…visually splendorous …
Wild Iranian comedy Pig is set in the world of Hasan Kasmai (played by Hassan Majooni) – a blacklisted director whose fellow filmmakers are being brutally slaughtered and having the word ‘Pig’ carved into their foreheads by an unknown serial killer.
Why are only movie-makers being targeted? Why isn’t the killer after him? What is real?
Pig, written, directed and produced by Mani Haghighi (A Dragon Arrives, Modest Reception), examines the life of the frustrated and vain filmmaker, who slowly begins to slide into an increasingly odd, filmic nightmare of his own creation, gradually losing touch with reality.
Our hero is banned from making films, instead directing commercials for cleaning products.
In one of many memorable visual sequences, an advertisement being filmed for bug spray has dancers lined up and dressed as ants in front of a green screen, in formation together. The scene is almost Stanley Donen-esque, recalling Singing In The Rain, and classic musicals like Gold Diggers.
Another striking scene portrays the character’s dream, in a black room with an electric LED tennis racquet.
Firmly fitting the tradition of films-within-films, the narrative is used to look at the art and process of filmmaking itself. With its wild visual sequences, and a look into the loose, insane world of a film director, Fellini’s 8 ½ immediately comes to mind. It’s not a long stretch to assume that the fictitious director is a stand-in for the actual director, Mani Haghighi, who turns a sombre subject literally on its head – into a darkly black comedy.
The film’s protagonist becomes an investigator, pulling away from his monitoring of social media to solve the mystery. Whilst he is affected by the deaths of his fellow countrymen, and suspicions that he’s the murderer, those around him are seemingly only interested in Instagram selfies.
Pulling no punches as it takes on fame and celebrity in the online age, including scenes of abject violence that might put some viewers off, the visually splendorous Pig is a meta-take which eviscerates the internet and social media.