×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Paat’

A dog bears silent witness to various human-societal ills in this modest but accomplished drama.

With:

Mostafa Sasani, Saed Soheili, Sonia Sanjari, Negar Hasanzade, Jamshid Noori, Mandana Nosrati, Fahime Dabbaghi, Babak Hamidifard, Behzad Ashkan, Maryam Movaghar. (Farsi dialogue)

A lost dog bears silent (well, wordless at least) witness to various human-societal ills in “Paat,” Amir Toodehroosta’s accomplished first feature. This episodic narrative with one furry running thread is a modest, compact enterprise that should continue successfully traveling the fest circuit, perhaps picking up an award or two to bolster eventual home-format outreach to Iranian cinema fans offshore.

The titular hound — we have to take that moniker on faith, since no characters of any species are named onscreen — seems to live a pretty contented life with his thirtysomething Tehran owner. But the man is in some sort of murky trouble with a woman; when he stops avoiding her to hash out their beef in person, she apparently stabs him to death. Paat stays by his master’s side until the next day, when noises lure him into the street outside, where he must flee gun-wielding “dogcatchers.”

(Puzzled viewers might want to know that dogs are considered “unclean” in most Muslim cultures. Lately there’s been a crackdown by Iranian officials confiscating the previously thinly tolerated pets, though a sequence here in an apparently legal doggy park rather confuses the issue.)

Prone to following any person who seems friendly, Paat ends up in the company of successive troubled souls: a young woman being pressured to have an abortion by her married older lover; another woman who considers selling her kidney to pay for a sickly son’s surgery; two junkies who have a violent falling out in a desolate area on the city’s outskirts; and so forth. These blackout-separated vignettes are staged and acted with effective directness, even if sometimes they stretch the concept a bit. (More than once we hear dialogue between characters who don’t seem to be particularly in Paat’s vicinity.)

While dogs may not be welcome in this culture, the long-haired German Shepherd billed as “Boby” fulfills one invaluable staple movie-star function here, being such a handsome fella that he largely sustains narrative involvement simply by being so pleasant to look at. Lensing, like all other tech/design contributions here, makes an attractive virtue of simplicity.

Film Review: 'Paat'

Reviewed at Tokyo Film Festival (Asian Future), Oct. 21, 2013. (Also in Warsaw, Sao Paolo film festivals.) Running time: 76 MIN.

Production:

(Iran) A T.R. Film production. (International sales: ATR Film, Tehran.) Produced by Amir Toodehroosta.

Crew:

Directed, written by Amir Toodehroosta. Camera (color, HD), Mohammad Rasooli; editor, Maysam Samadi; costume designers, Toodehroosta, Sadra Sadri; sound, Peyman Vahedi, Morteza Ahrabi.

With:

Mostafa Sasani, Saed Soheili, Sonia Sanjari, Negar Hasanzade, Jamshid Noori, Mandana Nosrati, Fahime Dabbaghi, Babak Hamidifard, Behzad Ashkan, Maryam Movaghar. (Farsi dialogue)

More Film

  • Daniel Dae Kim Hellboy

    Cannes: Daniel Dae Kim Joins Joe Penna’s Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Stowaway’

    Daniel Dae Kim, best known recently for ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” will join Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette in Joe Penna’s sci-fi thriller “Stowaway.” The movie marks the second feature from Penna and Ryan Morrison, the duo behind the Cannes Official Selection film “Arctic,” which released earlier this year. XYZ Films and CAA Media Finance [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Karim Ainouz on Cannes Un Certain Regard's ‘The Invisible Life’

    CANNES  —  Karim Aïnouz’s “The Invisible Life” begins with two  sisters, not much over 20, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) sitting by the shore of one of the multiple bays around Rio de Janeiro, a lush tropical forest behind. They have all their life in front of them. Guida suddenly dashes off clambering [...]

  • Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire 'Portrait of

    Cannes: Neon, Hulu Acquire Celine Sciamma’s 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    Neon and Hulu have acquired North American rights to Céline Sciamma’s love story “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which premiered in competition at Cannes. Neon is planning a theatrical release for the film this year, which will include an awards campaign in all categories. The film is set in Brittany, France in 1770. Marianne [...]

  • Brightburn review

    Film Review: 'Brightburn'

    “Superman” meets “The Omen” in “Brightburn,” a watchable but super-silly mix of superheroics and evil-child horror that mashes together singularly uninspired ideas from both. Offering R-rated fantasy competition to “Aladdin” this Memorial Day weekend, it should do OK with undiscriminating audiences seeking familiar, forgettable genre thrills. But the franchise prayers that an open-ended fadeout dangles [...]

  • Aladdin

    Film Review: Will Smith in 'Aladdin'

    Of all the characters in Walt Disney Studios’ canon, is there any more animated than the Genie from “Aladdin”? In 1992, old-school cartooning seemed the only way to keep up with comedian Robin Williams’ rapid-fire sense of humor and free-associative gift for improvisation. Much of the appeal of the original “Aladdin” came thanks to the [...]

  • Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to

    Cannes: European Auteurs Launch Appeal to Get E.U. Elections Vote Out

    A group of 500 prominent European auteurs – including heavyweights attending Cannes such as Céline Sciamma, Pawel Pawlikowski, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne – have launched an impassioned appeal to citizens of the 28 European Union nations to get out the vote at the upcoming May 23-26 E.U. parliamentary elections. “It is true, Europe is hardly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content