International Competition – Cutting Edge

Dashte Khamoush

The Wasteland

Ahmat Bahrami

Iran 2020. 102 Min.
bw. DCP. Farsi/Turk./Kurd./e

Lotfollah loves Sarvar, and always has. Secretly. And with a heavy heart. For Sarvar, who works in a small brick factory where Lotfollah is a supervisor, has to keep her distance. Nonetheless, he protects her, takes care of her and brings her to town every week. But business is bad, and the workers are slowly planning their departure after a shattering announcement from the factory owner. Nobody knows what is to become of them, but worst hit is Lotfollah, who was born 40 years ago into the dusty and abandoned hinterland and cannot imagine living anywhere else.


In his cleverly orchestrated debut, the Iranian director Ahmad Bahrami works with repetition and ellipsis, allowing him to elegantly change perspectives and position the individual characters in the foreground in seamlessly interlocking episodes. Filmed in razor-sharp black and white, his camera is consciously a bit too slow, grapples in darkness or consistently remains stationary, so that part of the action happens outside of the frame. But it is precisely this invisibility and distance that gives rise to the enormous power of this minimal yet eye-catchingly cinematic work of art. (pj)


DirectorAhmat Bahrami
ScreenplayAhmad Bahrami
CinematographyMasud Amini Tirani
EditingSara Yavari
MusicFoad Ghahremani
WithAli Bagheri, Farrokh Nemati, Mahdieh Nassaj
ProducerSaeed Bashiri
DistributionPersia Film Distribution, Teheran,