“Black market”, the stock market or death

Right away, there is this tension. Corpses, literally (so to speak) and figuratively, corpses in the cupboard, or rather in the cold room of this slaughterhouse. Amir’s father works there as a guard, that night he needed his son for a macabre task.

Both are only secondary links in a complex and very real system, which has even become essential in contemporary Iran. Black market is film noir. Film noir has always been a way of showing the dysfunctions of society in a dramatized form, and Iranian film noir is no exception.

Among the most successful, we rememberA man of integrity by Mohammad Rasoulof, who spoke of both the repression of student protests, problems related to the water supply, and the pervasiveness of corruption. And of course, Tehran Law by Saeed Roustayi, an unexpected and well-deserved success last summer, which shed a harsh light on the importance of drug trafficking and addiction phenomena, but also extreme social inequality. Black market It focuses on a phenomenon which, without being new, has taken on considerable proportions due to the embargo decreed by Donald Trump, and which is strangling the country, that is to say first of all its population.

The film has changed titles since its screening at international festivals, where it was called The Slaughterhouse –the slaughterhouse. If part of the action takes place in a slaughterhouse, and if the word evokes the brutality of the situations with which the characters are confronted, the French title, in addition to its more allusive meanings, designates this parallel economy now at the center of the possibilities of existence of the majority of Iranians.

A double movement

Rich in twists and turns, Black market brilliantly accomplishes this double movement which so frequently marks the success of a film: staying focused on the fate of a few protagonists, the events that happen to them, their emotions, the conflicts they have to face, while making this dramatic knot individualized a way to tell a much larger story.

The boss of the slaughterhouses (Mani Haghighi) caught up in the web of his trafficking and his lies. | L’Atelier Distribution

On the plot side, centered on certain protagonists, Abbas Amini’s film is all the richer because it is never satisfied with figures reduced to a single moral characteristic or a single dramatic function. Supported by the strong presence of the performers (including Mani Haghighi, who is an important director, in particular also of genre films), the course of the action benefits from a tense editing, sometimes anxiety-provoking, but without sacrificing its protagonists to the effectiveness of suspense.

As for the overall perspective, the film will have finally dealt with complex situations, which range from working conditions at the most precarious levels of society to trafficking on the border with Iraq, highlighting this lawless area. which has largely become the strategic region of Chatt-el-Arab.

Impressive, the central sequence features a stock market session, but an underground stock exchange, at night on an isolated wasteland, and where we will see the police carry out a raid which we suspect will not interrupt for long. illegal activities taking place there.

In action, the “brokers” of the underground dollar exchange. | L’Atelier Distribution

Its activities are the same as in real stock exchanges, trading in currencies and in corporate debt. With the same impetus, the film thus describes, in the codes of the thriller, the adventures of Amir and these outlaw financial mechanisms, in the context of a daily life that has become infinitely harder for the poorest since the implementation of sanctions.

Another evocative aspect in Black market concerns the hero, who tried to emigrate to France, lived for two years in the Calais jungle before being brutally expelled. It is unusual that this situation is evoked in the cinema from the point of view of those who are victims of it, after their return to the country where these people find themselves in a situation even more degraded than that which had made them take the road, not having literally more room at home.

Intense, with moments of great beauty and a certain strangeness, Black market is thus an opportunity to take charge of very specific realities, current Iran, in terms capable of moving everywhere in the world. This is one of the virtues of resorting to genre cinema.

Jean-Michel Frodo’s film critics are to be found in the program “Cultural Affinities” by Tewfik Hakem, Saturday from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on France Culture.

Black market

d’Abbas Amini, avec Amirhossein Fathi, Mani Haghighi, Baran Kosari, Hassan Pourshirazi

Sessions

Duration: 1h42
Released: Jan 5, 2022


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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