Bitter Dream

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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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