Friday, 9 October 2009

Reza Dolatabadi "Khoda" (2008)

Khoda was directed by Reza Dolatabadi for his graduation film as a student at the University of Dundee. He enlisted the help of Adam Thomson for the 3D work and Hamed Mafakheri's electronic soundtrack. Commencing with a flight across country the film settles on a young man looking skywards. Into the head via the eyeball one is in the realms of nightmare as our man prowls around his prison cell, gazing in despair at the measly light from the barred window, scrabbling around in the murk before a flight of fancy takes him back as an older, haunted adult to the countryside of his youth. There follow memories of torture, flight and a sad existence in some anonymous high rise apartment and a reflection that seems lost. As to the significance, I'm lost. I read Reza's explanation: "What if you watch a film and whenever you pause it, you see a painting?" Nope. Still none the wiser. Alienation, aging or incarceration itself I can understand. However what I miss in terms of overall meaning is more than compensated for by the compelling pace of it all and some exceptional figure drawings (6000 over two years) brought into further prominence by software filters that lend a classical look. Reza was born in Tehran in 1985, studied at Soureh School of Art in the same city, gravitating to Edinburgh College of Art to get a BA in Illustration. He moved thereafter into animation at the University of Dundee, Khoda being his graduation piece in 2008. Mark Szalos Farkas was co-writer. Adam, whose website the link is to, graduated from Dundee (the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to be precise) in 2006 with a degree in Animation and Electronic Media. It's interesting reading reviews. If something can't be explained it is called surreal. I've used the ruse myself and here, I think, the term is justified.

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