A pivotal event of the Iranian Revolution is revisited while characters travel into the future, enter a film-within-the-film, or get caught in time loops. True crime drama like you’ve never seen before...
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Seldom has a “based on a true story” title card been more misleading. Shahram Mokri’s mind-bender takes a notorious historical event of the Iranian Revolution, when anti-Shah protesters set fire to the Cinema Rex in Abadan and hundreds of people died in the blaze, and subjects it to what might best be described as a kaleidoscopic, cubist analysis.
We approach the event from multiple angles without ever actually seeing it, but those angles are refracted through different levels of the narrative: films within films (including one also called Careless Crime, also directed by Shahram Mokri), flashbacks, a museum display, an American silent movie, disorienting dream states and, perhaps most ominously, what seems to be history repeating itself in the present day. As the film progresses, however, those levels get playfully scrambled, and characters end up inhabiting different time periods simultaneously, repeating encounters or interacting with characters from the film-within-the-film.
As delightfully confusing as it gets, the movie is held together by the gravitational force continually pulling us back towards that historic conflagration, the black hole the film can’t escape.
The filmmaking skill Mokri employs to pull off this storytelling magic trick is formidable, making him one of the most exciting young filmmakers working today. Viewers who were lucky enough to see his astonishing single-shot, time-looping feature Fish & Cat... (NZIFF 2014) will have some idea what they’re in for. The rest of you: hold on tight, this is a wild ride! — Andrew Langridge