By Will Barber Taylor
In the corner of the home, Maryam’s husband does weightlifting. Suddenly, the weight falls on his throat and puts him between life and death. Maryam tries to save him, but she just decides to stop helping and stand and watch her husband’s death…
Kaveh Mazaheri is an acclaimed Iranian director, who is deeply in touch with Iranian life and understands Iranian life like no other. In Retouch he examines Iranian culture’s attitudes towards women and how that culture can be dangerous for them. Mazaheri utilises simple yet effective cinematic techniques to convey a complex and chilling tale.
Mazaheri’s use of quick, slow shots interspersed with more complex and longer shots helps build up the effect of Maryam attempting to consider how she can deal with the death of her husband. Mazaheri expertly builds up the tension throughout the film so that the audience is on tenterhooks as to what Maryam will do when she finally has to face her husband’s death. The conclusion is expertly dealt with and will serve to send a shiver down the spine of any audience.
In conclusion, Retouch is an excellent and thought-provoking film which serves to highlight the differences between Western culture and Middle Eastern culture and how women feel they have to act in different cultures. As such it is a truly revolutionary film which holds up a mirror to current events and allows its audience to understand the lives of women in Iran.
You can read my interview with the director of Retouch, Kaveh Mazaheri here.