TFF: ‘The Pig’ (2018) Festival Review
When you attend a film festival, you get rare access to gems you would have otherwise never seen. It’s an experience all film fans should consider, especially because one of the gems you might come across is something like The Pig from Iran.
Hasan Kasmai (portrayed by Hasan Majuni) is a blacklisted director very upset with where his career is, especially compared to others. His muse and star, Shiva Mohajer (Leila Hatami), is moving on to work with another director and he is left creating commercials for pesticide companies. While his career seems to be at an end, the directors that are still active begin finding their lives at an end. As the killer progresses through the list of directors, Hasan begins to wonder why he is not being attacked, and more importantly, how he will get both Shiva and his career back.
The Pig is a dark comedy, (emphasis on dark) but also emphasis on comedy. My expectations for a dark comedy out of Iran were low, even though it definitely piqued my interest. However The Pig delivered laughs from beginning to end. The movie is gory, and at times very violent, but in between those moments of murder and mourning, are sequences that had the entire screening audience nearly rolling on the floor.
Hasan is fantastic in his role, and is surrounded by a more than capable cast. Leila Hatami, Leili Rashidi, and Parinaz Izadyar play large factors in the film also, meshing incredibly well with Hasan and each other. The core is complimented by the additions of others such as Mina Jafarzadeh, Aynaz Azarhoosh, Ali Bagheri, Siamak Ansari, Ali Mosaffa, Soheila Razavi; all names you’ve probably never heard before, at least outside of Iran.
The Pig was directed by Mani Haghighi, another name probably not typically pulled up on your IMDB searches. Mani’s ability to set a scene was brilliant, and it made moments that would seem predictable mostly unpredictable and entertaining. Mani seemed to have complete cooperation of his cast and crew, and the entire team seemed comfortable together.
Even with the amazing casting and directing, a foreign film can sometimes find it hard to fit-in in the rest of the world. But the surprising content of The Pig is what helps it fit in. It was unexpected, as even with the amount of interest I have in independent cinema I am not familiar with Iranian films. With females being a strong and important part of the cast, as well as the gore handled with such a comedic turn, and even the movie being littered with American music references, I was taken aback and found familiar content with a foreign language.
The Pig is hilarious, but it definitely isn’t for everybody. Many people can’t take such a violent concept in such comedic stride. However, Mani Haghighi and team clearly can, and for those of you that are interested in doing so as well, The Pig comes recommended all the way from Iran.
Film Festival Review
This review of The Pig is part out our Tallgrass Film Festival 2018 coverage. For more coverage, visit the Tour Page.