Slamdance Movie Review: ‘Killing Of The Eunuch Khan’

Slamdance Film Festival 2022

Greetings again from the darkness. It’s best not to take the film or its synopsis at face value. This bears no resemblance to a conventional film and the synopsis would have you thinking this is a traditional crime thriller. Iranian writer-director Abed Abest makes no effort to formulate an easy-to-follow story, and instead gives us a glimpse at war atrocities – here based during the Iran-Iraq War. Though it’s not a straightforward story to follow, the film is visually stunning and reminiscent (at times) of Jodorowsky and Kubrick.

A teenage girl and her young sister are collecting items in the yard of their large, sparsely decorated home. As they go back inside to display the reflective items, simultaneously a bombing mission is carried out. Due to storm, things don’t go according to plan. Filmmaker Abest delivers an artistic aftermath of the bombing, and we see the girls’ father return home to the tragic scene. What follows is a surreal, dreamlike depiction of the grieving father’s visions. Time, people, and events are blurred, and the visuals take over the emotional aspect.

Outside of one interrogation scene, there is very little dialogue … but plenty of walking. Much of what we see is left to our interpretation, and the imagery provided by cinematographer Hamid Khozoule Abyane is nothing short of stellar. The camera often seems to float above those we are following and red/blood flows throughout the city. Viewers who try to make sense of every scene or assemble the pieces will surely be frustrated, but the best approach is to take in the visuals and process in your own time.

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