filmfestivals: Baher, a short film by Hassan Akhondpour

filmfestivals: Baher, a short film by Hassan Akhondpour

By Martin I. Petrov

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A stylish fairytale, Baher (Her mind) is an extravagant interpretation of how far human mind can go when logic departs and the heart takes the lead. 


Iranian director Hassan Akhondpour creates a 25 minute eerie, yet sophisticated journey through a female mind, delving into his character’s deepest desires and emotions. Obsessed with the idea that her husband is seeing another woman, the character gradually enters a world of emotional paranoia where the lines between reality and illusion become blurry. 


The absence of dialogue underlines the internalisation of her own emotional sabotage as we follow every step she makes progressing into darker nuances of self-destruction. Akhondpour has definitely paid attention to very detail to deliver an aesthetically lavish environment, which makes stronger the character’s craving for escape, for letting-go of all the longing and the undefinable madness. An array of visions and flashbacks, products of the character’s imagination create the vivid web of delusion that surround her, until we get closer and closer to an unpredictable end. 


The film navigates us through an entirely different world than the one we are used to from contemporary social realist Iranian cinema, where wealth, beauty and lifestyle are less important than the sociopolitical background that usually are in central focus. Yet here, a more personal story takes place and the contrast between the world the character lives in and her emotional stated is clearly underlined, making a rather general statement about human nature. 


With a great presence in Cannes and in more and more international festivals around the world, Iran is gradually placing the uniqueness of Persian culture in the epicentre of a new cinematic wave. And Baher is definitely an example of an intelligently made short film that breathes from a great source of aspiration.



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