Bitter Dream | Chicago Reader

Bitter Dream

First-time Iranian director Mohsen Amiryoussefi's deliciously sly black comedy casts its actors from real life—the actual grave digger, clothes burner, and female body washer of the Sedeh cemetery all play themselves, as does its star, Esfandiar, the elderly cadaver preparer and de facto boss of the graveyard shift. The fictional story line finds Esfandiar sensing that the angel of death is stalking him, and in marvelously understated scenes of social cluelessness, he attempts to make amends to the workers he's spied on and belittled for years. Retreating to the isolation of his house, where he's wont to watch documentaries on the funeral rites of other cultures, he eerily begins to see his own life, instantly replayed or surreally fast-forwarded, on the black-and-white TV set before him. In Farsi with subtitles. 87 min.

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