Iran's Haghighi is proud his Berlin 'Dragon' film is 'a mess'

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:27am EST
 
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By Michael Roddy

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iranian director Mani Haghighi says his Berlin competition movie "Ejhdeha Vared Mihavad!" (A Dragon Arrives!) is a hodge-podge of genres ranging from crime film to "X-Files", but he trusts viewers will find it an entertaining and thought-provoking mix.

"It's a mess, yeah, it's a mess," Haghighi told Reuters in an interview on Friday, the day of the film's festival premiere. "The idea was to make a mess and see how it goes."

"As I went along I realized that maybe one genre wasn't going to do the trick and it would be just the same old boring thing.

"So what would happen if you put science fiction, paranoia 'X-Files'-type things together with Philip Marlowe, Dashiell Hammett detective stuff plus Jules Verne and Tintin and Indiana Jones and then some Iranian films and local color and put it all together?

"The idea was to make it as complex in terms of genre-bending as possible."

The film, which is in competition for the Berlin film festival's main Golden Bear prize to be awarded on Saturday, suggests it is aiming for a Monty Python-esque slant by stating at the outset it is "a true story" but delivering anything but.

What viewers get instead are some striking images of the hulk of an immense wooden ship stranded in a desert landscape in Iran, a shaggy dog story of a political dissident who has either hanged himself or been murdered inside the ship, but who has left intriguing scribblings all over its interior walls, plus police agents driving around in a vintage Chevrolet Impala.

And there is something under the earth in a cemetery right outside the ship that causes a localized earthquake to occur whenever a dead body is buried there.   Continued...

 
Director Mani Haghighi poses during a photocall to promote the movie 'Ejhdeha Vared Mishavad!' ('A Dragon Arrives!') at the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos