Bitter Dream

Produced by Iran's Documentary and Experimental Film Centre, this seems to be both. Mixing cinéma vérité, dramatic fiction and absurdist black comedy, it's closer to TV's Six Feet Under than a typical Iranian art film. That said, it does connect with the post-modernity in Abbas Kiarostami's cinema. Esfandiari, apparently playing himself, is a cantankerous old gravedigger in a large cemetery in the centre of Iran. The incursion of a reality TV show documenting his life brings home his own sense of mortality. It's no masterpiece, but the shifting styles are intriguing, you learn a fair bit about local attitudes to death and bereavement along the way, and the film's edgy humour is a welcome surprise. Most memorable moment: an apprentice is shown how to wash a corpse. 'Now take your glove off and wash his organ,' he's instructed - at which the corpse sits up and demands a pay rise.

By: TCh

Release details

Duration: 87 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mohsen Amiryoussefi
Screenwriter: Mohsen Amiryoussefi
Cast: Abbas Esfandiari
Delbar Ghasri
Mohsen Rahimi
Safar-Ali Safari
Yadollah Anvari
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