Mohammad Shirvani’s captivating feature reveals an intensely personal vision as it explores gendered and generational conflicts. The film introduces us to a father and his son; the older man is obese, unwell, and oppre...展开ssive in his dealings with the younger, who is also deaf and mute. A series of cryptic, spellbinding episodes reveals a tyrannical paternalism at work that has long since hardened into a closed circuit of mutual pain. Enter a mysterious and beautiful woman of unspecified identity, who becomes an agent of change, embodying both an evolved consciousness and the power of the female as a rebuke to bankrupt patriarchy.
Characteristically experimenting with film form, Shirvani is rigorous and masterful in his storytelling here, introducing situations and behaviors without qualification so that minute details surge with symbolic weight. Sensitively modulated sound and searching camerawork extract telling clues from myriad strata while the implied narrative attaches to the powerfully realized, archetypical characters like a vapor. - S. K.