"Still Life" (also known as "Tabiate bijan") is a profound and introspective Iranian film directed by Sohrab Shahid Saless, a notable figure in the Iranian New Wave. This thought-provoking drama revolves around the life of an aging railway crossing guard, Mohammad, who finds himself grappling with the changes brought on by modernization and the inevitable passage of time.
The plot of "Still Life" is simple yet deeply resonant, as the film delves into the quiet, everyday moments that make up Mohammad's existence. The story unfolds at a deliberate pace, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the protagonist's world and contemplate the themes of change, isolation, and the human condition.
The acting in "Still Life" is exceptional, with non-professional actors delivering powerful and genuine performances. The lead character, Mohammad, played by Zamanion, is a stoic yet deeply human figure, whose stoicism and quiet determination evoke empathy and understanding from the viewer.
Sohrab Shahid Saless's direction is assured and restrained, with an emphasis on long takes and static shots that draw the audience into the slow rhythm of Mohammad's life. The cinematography, also by Houshang Baharlou, is stunning, with each frame meticulously composed to evoke a sense of poetry and melancholy.
The film's score, composed by Hormoz Farhat, is sparse and subtle, adding an additional layer of poignancy to the story without overpowering it. The editing by Kazem Rajinia maintains the film's deliberate pace, while also skillfully highlighting the contrasts between Mohammad's routine and the encroaching modern world.
In conclusion, "Still Life" is a masterfully crafted film that serves as a poignant exploration of the human experience, as well as a meditation on the inexorable passage of time. Its contemplative nature and powerful imagery make it an essential watch for fans of Iranian cinema and those who appreciate thought-provoking, visually striking films.