A Light In The Fog
Parivash Nazariyeh, Massoud Heshmat, Behrouz Jalili / Fiction / Persian
The new Iranian Sokurov.
Due to the political situation in Iran, it has not yet been possible to transmit the print of the film A LIGHT IN THE FOG as planned to Edinburgh. Unfortunately we have therefore had to postpone both public screenings and the press screening. We are still hoping to receive the print in time to screen it during EIFF.
For the time being please note that the film IS available for PRESS and INDUSTRY/DELEGATES to view in the EIFF videotheque.
Our apologies for this unfortunate situation.
By a dirt track on a mountain cloaked in fog, the widow Rana lives alone with her elderly, ailing father. They scrape a living by mending oil lamps for their neighbours, and manufacturing charcoal. He is dying; she cares for him. That's all. In its meditative rhythm, painterly long-take shooting, and preference for atmospheric compositions over narrative drive, Rezaee's exquisite debut recalls such masterpieces as Sohrab Saless' Still Life and Sokurov's Mother and Son. Like the former, it explores the lives of people who live in a thin peripheral economy, wrapped up hermetically in their private dedication to repetitive labour. Like the latter, Rezaee sets a small, intensely personal story of filial devotion within the framework of a vast and mysterious landscape, whose every nuance seems to gloss the human drama it conceals. The film builds a stark dichotomy between indoors and outdoors. Ali Mohammad Ghasemi's masterful landscape shooting makes gorgeous use of cloud, fog, and half-seen hillsides, to develop a sense of moody, inscrutable vastness. By contrast, the exquisitely composed indoor scenes evince a palpably humane intimacy, using strong chiaroscuro to display widow and father, warmly lit, amongst the deep shadows of their rustic home. They mend lamps, working wordlessly, with the quiet patience of those driven by hard necessity. Through this labour, and in their mutual care, the pair find a quiet rapture. In this way, their humble lives form an island of warmth in the cold immensity beyond – they are "lights in the fog". Rezaee punctuates his highly atmospheric, meditative scenario with moments of piercing beauty and rich symbolism. One such moment is the widow and father's visit to a mosque. Shafts of golden sunlight percolate horizontally through the darkened room, offering a rare dose of strikingly perspectival imaging in a film that's dominated by mainly two-dimensional compositions (the pervasive fog dampens the sense of perceived depth in many scenes). The lighting in the mosque scene thus offers a succinct metaphor for the characters' spiritual experience during their visit. This is efficient, powerfully elegant filmmaking. This utterly assured use of formal qualities in lighting and image composition to achieve intensely poetic goals marks Rezaee out as a major new filmmaking talent.
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