‘Pig (Khook)’ SFF 2018 film review


Nothing like being bypassed by a serial killer to make one seem less significant. Or so Hasan (Hasan Majuni) – a blacklisted Iranian filmmaker in a crazy, social-media-obsessed world – feels when his fellow directors are decapitated and he is isn’t. Mani Haghighi‘s Pig (Khook in Farsi) is a surreal romp, blurring the lines between cinema, imagination and reality.

Pig opens with a bunch of schoolgirls, phones clutched in hands, excitedly chatting and taking selfies, who discover the headless remains of Hasan’s friend. “Pig” is carved onto his forehead, and then those of successive victims. So unfolds the chaotic plot of the movie. Hasan’s muse, Shiva (Leila Hatami) calmly tolerates Hasan’s obsession with her, even when he stalks Shiva on the film set with another conceited director, Sohrab (Ali Mussafa). Meanwhile, Hasan has a stalker and obsessed fan of his own (Parinaz Izadyar) but the only person who appeases his tormented, artistic soul and ego is his mentally deteriorating mother (Mina Jafarzadeh). She reassures her petulant son “…he’s saving the best for last” when he despairs the killer has overlooked him. Hasan’s amusing mother steals each scene she is in, particularly the climactic ending.

Hasan’s cockroach spray commercial endeavours – whilst he awaits his return to movie making – allow for a surreal and colourful, visual feast, as does the party scene with Hasan’s doctor and tennis buddy, Humayan (Siamak Ansari). The latter a fusion of Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and Paris Fashion Week. Haghighi uses a broad cinematic spectrum for various mise-en-scènes, highlighting Hasan’s paranoia and humanity’s vanity and excess.

The dark comedy definitely translated well to an English audience, if gauged by the synchronised laughter in the cinema. Pig‘s only criticism would be that the pace of the narrative was sometimes too chaotic, barely pausing breath to make allowance to collect one’s thoughts. But the antihero, Hasan, with his adolescent rock tee-shirts and manners and bumbling, rotund body, really is endearing. More khook-y, than piggish.

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