As the Islamic republic of Iran opens itself opens itself up to the global market, is it also opening itself up to Western ideals? How can justice exist when capitalism is built on exploitation and profit? These are the big questions at stake here and Lantouri is not afraid to sink its teeth into them in a novel way. The title refers to a gang that wreaks havoc in Teheran but also the Robin Hood ideal they embody. They target the 1% of the city, the people who indulge in ugly excess and take advantage of the millions that live in squalour. When a female journalist and political activist rejects the advances of the leader of the gang, Pasha, he regretfully attacks her. She seeks retribution via the lex talonis law: an eye for an eye.
The striking mix of format (talking heads documentary, true crime and drama) allows director Reza Dormishian to blur the lines between fiction and reality, so that at times the talking heads are addressing the gang and the audience directly. The varied information relayed about each character is contradictory and thus it’s impossible to tell whether the gang leader is a working class hero or a mentally disturbed sociopath – or both. Aesthetically, Lantouri is very rough around the edges, sometimes testing the limits of an independent budget show, but its relentless indie spirit for innovation lifts it beyond the cracks of visual shortcomings. The editing moves rapidly, creating a pulsing rhythmic pace that only stops to reflect on the more complex philosophical issues.
Early on in the film, the activist creates trouble for herself by publishing an article in the Guardian, trying to garner attention for the hanging of a convicted murderer. Her editor threatens to fire her, as she is playing with how the outside world views Iran – an idea the director is ultimately toying with as well. The country is undergoing an enormous transition morally, politically, economically, and all of these factors are taken to account. The idea of justice is dissected and analysed in a vibrant and engaging fashion in this exceptional mockumentary.
Lantouri does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Lantouri here: