Toronto pageant Mani Haghighi on thriller “Subtraction”





By Alissa Simon

Subtraction,” from idiosyncratic Iranian helmer-writer Mani Haghighi (“Males at Work,” “Modest Reception,” “A Dragon Arrives!”) is a tense Hitchcockian thriller set in Tehran, the place a heavy, continuous rainfall indicators a lingering malaise. There, a younger couple come throughout their doppelgängers. The movie premiered on the Toronto pageant.

The thought for the plot grew out of the helmer’s long-ago journey to Southwest Iran to take a look at locations the place the Iran-Iraq struggle came about.

“It was a scorching summer time day and I wandered into an area mosque to chill down and get some relaxation,” Haghighi says. “The individuals who ran the mosque had placed on an exhibition of pictures from the struggle years. I used to be casually taking a look at these footage and I used to be all of the sudden transfixed by one in every of them. It was an image of me, in navy uniform, badly wounded within the neck, being carried by two different troopers. As one of many characters says in ‘Subtraction,’ ‘It’s not like he regarded like me, he was my absolute clone!’ I used to be so confused that I requested others to confirm what I used to be seeing, and everyone was positive it was an image of me, besides that, on the time of the struggle, I used to be a lot youthful than the person within the image, I used to be only a 10-year-old child. It was dreadful and fully uncanny, and it was a really acquainted sort of dread: it jogged my memory of the way it feels to reside in Tehran, the place you’re consistently coming face-to-face with occasions that appear fully unreasonable to you, day by day, in all places, and but you’re purported to reside with them and tolerate them and fake they’re regular.”

The plot facilities on two actors, every enjoying two elements. Haghighi solid Taraneh Alidoosti and Navid Mohammadzadeh, two of Iran’s greatest stars. He notes, “My main motive for selecting them was that they’re very form and uncomplicated folks, very simple to get near and spend time with. My rehearsal course of normally takes a very long time. I write my closing draft after I solid the movie and I rewrite the script extensively for the precise actors I’ve chosen. So it’s not sufficient for them to be good actors. They have to be simple to spend time with and be mates with. And these guys are.”

One may suppose that growing and differentiating their two characters could be fairly troublesome, however Haghighi disagrees. “I used to be adamant that this shouldn’t be their concern, as a result of I knew the plot and the precise dramatic conditions would deal with that downside,” he says. “I didn’t need them to search for a sure tic, or a sure means the character walks, or a selected tone of voice. I requested them to consider the issues every character faces, how they react to the issue, and the choice they make about it. The script, the make-up and the costume design would deal with the remainder. As soon as I managed to persuade the actors of this, all the pieces grew to become simple and relaxed and sort of old style: What’s the downside? How does it make you’re feeling? What are you going to do about it?”

Haghighi, who additionally works as an actor, was born in a household that works and creates artwork. His mom is a gallery proprietor and his father a cinematographer. His grandfather is the famend filmmaker Ebrahim Golestan and his uncle, the photojournalist Kaveh Golestan.

Just like the work of Iranian New Wave director Dariush Mehrjui, about whom he has made two documentaries, Haghighi’s movies are all very totally different from each other, but they bear his refined, ineffable signature. “Most administrators in my technology in Iran are fearful of tarnishing their model, they usually maintain making the identical movie again and again. I can’t think about how they will survive the boredom,” he says.

Though all of Haghighi’s movies happen in Iran, his Iranian-Canadian identification is essential to him. “I went to highschool and college in Ontario, I married and divorced there, and a few of my closest mates reside and work there and I’m in each day contact with them. I additionally studied philosophy in Canada, and a number of the individuals who taught me have been large cinematic influences, in a roundabout however essential means,” he says.

Haghighi’s first expertise of TIFF got here in 1984, age 15, the place he noticed two movies that blew him away: “Boy Meets Woman” by Leos Carax and “Blood Easy” by the Coen brothers. “I already knew I needed to be a filmmaker again then, however I resolved to premiere my movies in Toronto when the time got here. And it’s sort of astonishing and completely fantastic that I lastly get to do that, almost 40 years later,” he says.

The movie has been acquired by Diaphana in France (in affiliation with Kinovista) and September Movies in Benelux. Jean-Christophe Simon’s Berlin-based outfit Movies Boutique co-produced “Subtraction” and is representing the film in worldwide markets.

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