Khook (Pig) press conference with Mani Haghighi, Leila Hatami and co-stars
A favourite of the Berlin International Film Festival, Iranian filmmaker Mani Haghighi returns with the chuckle-inducing mashup of disparate themes and ideas that is Pig. The film tells the story of the narcissistic film director Hassan, who has been blacklisted by the government and is forced to make kookily stylish TV commercials. Influenced by the women in his life, including his leading lady Shiva (Leila Hatami), things take on an element of dark absurdity when a serial killer begins to behead Iran’s best film directors. But much to his sulky dismay, Hassan apparently is unworthy of the killer’s attentions.
Haghighi talked about how a film doesn’t need to make a bold statement, and how, in his opinion, his own films often don’t. “I prefer to speak my mind when I have something to say. On the other hand, film for me is not about saying something. There isn’t a slogan that I wish to express in my film, so I’m not making a film to express that. A film for me is just a bunch of ideas that come together in the form of images, just expressed as a story with images.” The director continued: “I was telling a story about a guy who was panicking; a story about a man in this state of panic. Not just about his milieu, but about his role in his milieu – I wanted to express that panic more than anything else.”
He confessed that he, as an Iranian filmmaker, was rather weary of being asked political questions when discussing his work with the international press. “Let’s not forget that art is supposed to be some kind of universal language, to overcome the barriers, and every interview I do, it’s, ’So what do the reformers think of you? What do the hard liners think of you? Have you been censored, have you not been censored? How do you deal with censorship?’ Fine, but how many time do we need to hear this? Yes, there is censorship in Iran. Yes, it’s difficult to live with it, and yes, we’re dealing with it in different ways depending on the political climate. But there is so much more to discuss. And let me ask, why do you think Iranian films are supposed to be some kind of a tour guide of Iran for you? We’re not here representing our country and telling you, hey come and look how victimised we are. Come and help us and all that. It’s sickening and tiring. It’s really tiresome. So I encourage you to think of this film as a film, as a piece of art.”
Leila Hatami, star of 2011’s Oscar-winning A Separation, made direct reference to the anti-government protests of Iran in 2017 and 2018 in which more than 21 protesters have been killed. “I would like to use this opportunity to express my deep anger and sorrow at the way protesters were treated in Iran recently. It’s a shame that in my country people can protest only at risk to their lives. For the first time I want to intervene and make a political statement.”
Khook (Pig) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival 2018.