There are many ways in which the short film ‘DICTATION’ can be defined, but perhaps the most appropriate label would be that of political metaphor. Far from adopting a conventional formula, Moein Hasheminasab creates his project as a gloomy visual and musical poem in which he illustrates a kind of dystopian micro-universe contaminated by a dictatorial will. Without using a verbal interaction between the characters, the director encapsulates in this silent nightmare a permanent state of alertness, a terror that acquires an almost metallic concreteness. Likewise, the closed universe of this twilight world exposes universal themes that draw a bridge between an almost mythical time and our very contemporary reality. In fact, it’s quite challenging to pinpoint exactly where the director’s imagination works its magic. This is because this cinematic poem assimilates, on the one hand, biblical elements and symbols and, on the other hand, tends to approach the structure of a totalitarian society in which the destiny of several countries in the Middle East is somewhat reflected.

 

More specifically, the director transposes in his project a kind of reinterpretation of Genesis, illustrating an Adamic couple haunted by the quasi-monstrous presence of a god/dictator who restricts the freedom of his “creatures”, punishing them for tasting the “forbidden fruit”. In the same way, this oppressive god prevents the two humans from having access to true knowledge (symbolized by an illustrated book with the Vitruvian Man), dictating his own rules, his own “Decalogue”. The metaphor is taken even further when we find out that everything happens inside a printing house, the place where “sacred” texts / authoritarian laws are manufactured.

 

Everything is built with precision, perhaps sometimes maybe too ostentatiously, by Moein Hasheminasab to give us access to the essence of his message: any religion is political, while any politics is based on religious-like dogmatic rules. Likewise, applying this message outside the strict perimeter of the short film, the director speaks about the accelerated degradation of humanity, unable to see beyond appearances and defy the aberrant laws of a leader, whether divine or human. This bitter message is constructed with a magnetic photographic precision whose concreteness largely respects the structure of a video clip. Also, the oppressive instrumental music, with operatic inflexions, envelops the gestural theatricality of the actors in a shockingly vibrant aura that makes ‘DICTATION’ an intriguing poetic-cinematic experiment, which takes us out of the comfort zone to question some of the great “truths” of the society we live in.

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