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A car at night, in the countryside outside Tehran, with only the sound of cicadas and nature alternating sleep and awakening after a day of light. A suspended moment, the alteration of drugs, and it seems that everything is far away, even a daily life always in the balance, under a regime that makes you feel like a criminal, if only because you want to live in freedom, according to universal values but those not shared by the mullahs. Mantagheye bohrani (Critical Zone) is a film that shows characters and situations not usually seen in Iranian films circulating in international festivals. It was filmed in secret and gives a glimpse into a hallucinatory society, a pressure cooker about to explode. It is written, directed and edited by Ali Ahmadzadeh, born in 1986, who continues his path of reflection on censorship and youth rebellion, on the impossible confrontation with theocracy. A poetic that prevents him from legally working as a director and did not allow him to leave the country to present Mantagheye bohrani at Locarno76.
The film tells the story of one night in a semi-deserted Tehran, populated only by the most lost and suffering souls, the elderly and the sick. A universe of those intoxicated by a regime that stifles all impetus and quells the spirit of revolt. But there is the bearded protagonist, a consoler, but also a drug dealer, who brings relief, his car guided by a GPS that adds to the idea of a country being led to an elusive destination, giving its own directions, without even believing it too much. There remains the energy of young people, women and men, gathered in a sequence in which they are seated in the same car, those who stay and those who leave, ideally the diaspora of exiles by force. A woman brings the western drugs, the vitality and the wild cries in the silence of a city crossed at full speed.
"Making this film was a rebellion," said the director, "showing it is an even bigger victory."
The film was shot without the permission of the Iranian regime, using real people and not actors, hiding the camera or cleverly using it with much restraint.