Parviz is a gripping drama from award winning director Majid Barzegar. Barzegar’s first film, Rainy Seasons, appeared in the first Iranian Film Festival, and so it is only natural to have him return triumphantly in the third IFFA. Parviz is an exploration of failed manhood told in incredibly interesting style.
Parviz (Levon Haftvan), a fifty-year-old man who has seemingly failed to kick off any sort of career or life of his own, is kicked out of his home when his father decides to marry. Parviz struggles to deal with life on his own and begins to unravel as he loses his job, friends and family. He begins to take revenge on his father and society in general in increasingly bizarre ways, sliding into his own brand of insanity.
Parviz is a film driven entirely by one colourful character. It is a deep foray into the mind of a completely unconventional character. Haftvan’s performance is incredible, making Parviz a very rounded character through intricate and subtle expressions and actions. Parviz as a character is an interesting subject. At the start of the movie you feel quite sorry for him, but as the film progresses you begin questioning any warm feelings you might have had. At the same time though, Parviz is such a great character that you end up looking past his unconventional behaviour. I think the best comparison would be the infamous Walter White of Breaking Bad; you don’t know whether to support him or despise him!
A talented cast, including Homeira Nonahali and Mahmoud Behrouzian, accompany Haftvan. The film’s writers have done a brilliant job at making almost every character complex and interesting, even if they only get a fraction of the screen time that Haftvan gets.
The sound of Parviz is another interesting aspect of the film. In keeping with the style of many other modern films, Parviz has practically no soundtrack to speak of. Every sound comes from the world of the film, creating a realistic urban atmosphere bereft of any fancy filmic trimmings. Parviz’ laboured breathing is the most utilised sound in the film. The sound of breathing accompanies almost every scene, even continuing for a few seconds after the screen cuts to black. While the sound may be annoying in some parts of the film, it is nonetheless a clever tactic that makes Parviz seem real, almost tangible.
The production quality of the film isn’t fantastic, with a few instances of sound recording gone wrong, out of focus camera work and, a small gripe, spelling mistakes in the subtitles. The camera work actually aids in a way, making the film seem like a documentary, a voyeuristic insight into the messed up life of Parviz. Some great shots, which will doubtlessly become iconic in Iranian film history, make up for the few mistakes.
Parviz is a deep and interesting psychological drama, featuring some absolutely amazing characters and unique film techniques that will likely leave you stunned.
Reviewed by James Rudd
Rating out of 10: 7