IMMORTAL (Mamiroo) Iran 2015
Director and Screenwriter: Hadi Mohaghegh Producer: Reza Mohaghegh, Majid Barzegar Director of Photography: Rozbeh Raiga Editor: Majid Barzegar Production and Costume Designer: Hossein Ghezelbash
Cast: Yadolah Shadmani, Meysam Farhomand, Fatemeh Bahador, Parisa Viseli, Mahyar Abravan, Tolo Jahanbazi
Production Company: Majid Barzegar Productions World Sales: Taat Films
Color, 90 minutes
The decision to give the NETPAC Award at the 14th Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok to Hadi Mohaghegh’s film Immortal was surprisingly easy and was made quite fast. This Iranian film is outstanding in the true sense of the word, both visually and in regard to its narrative and its storytelling.
It starts with a panoramic view of a magnificent mountainous landscape somewhere in the Iranian desert. An old man approaches, pushing his obviously broken motorcycle. It is, as we will later learn, Ayaz (Yadolah Shadmani), a man who is eaten up by his grief: a few years ago, he drove a mini-bus with (almost) all his family in it home from a wedding party. In a terrible accident everybody in the vehicle died – except for Ayaz.
Ever since then, he has been ridden by guilt and has tried to kill himself in various ways but didn’t succeed. When he doesn’t attempt suicide he sits in his small house listening to a barely audible cassette tape with his wife’s voice on it. He lives with his only relative, his grandson Ebrahim (Meysam Farhomand) who tries furiously to prevent the old man from doing more damage to himself.
It is a constant fight between the two of them, and it is one like we have never seen on the screen before. The stubborn old man tries to run away, the teenage grandson has to tie him down, block the door or use other drastic means to stop Ayaz. At the same time, Ayaz’s health is deteriorating.
In a desperate measure, Ebrahim takes him to a very strange healer who performs an even stranger ritual on the old man – part of it probably Islamic but part of it definitely invented by a crazy witch doctor.
After what could be described as a purge, Ayaz is – at least – clean and shaven and most of the wounds he has inflicted upon himself have mended. Nevertheless it is quite clear that he will not be around for much longer, and so Ebrahim, a young but wise and gentle man takes it upon himself to ensure that his grandfather will be able to die peacefully. The boy marries his even younger cousin Narges (Fatemeh Bahador) who also helps to tend to the patient. Ayaz’s death comes as no surprise but to see him finally relased from his suffering is incredibly moving and deeply emotional.
Twenty-nine-year-old Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh whose second film has already gathered several awards (in Busan 2015, among others) is clearly a filmmaker to watch – and so is his director of photography, Rozbeh Raiga. Together they have created a stunning and extraordinary film which deserves all the attention it can get.
- Andreas Ungerböck