The new Iranian film Pig (directed, incidentally, by my old school chum Mani Haghighi) raises a number of questions, but not enough to stop it from being very funny, in a dark, bleak, strange way.
The premise is ingenious: a serial killer is going around decapitating the great Iranian movie-makers, leaving one director distraught, not because he’s worried about getting killed, but because the murderer hasn’t yet bothered to kill him. He’s already despondent because he’s been blacklisted and has to direct high-camp bug spray commercials to keep the wolf from the door.
Because it’s a film about a director, there’s an obvious temptation to assume it’s in some way autobiographical, but Haghighi avoids that by appearing as himself, albeit it in a very oblique manner. It’s a bit like Martin Amis explicitly writing himself into Money, just to confirm he’s not any of the dreadful fictional characters. This is distinct from the character Marcus Appleby/Mark Asprey in his next novel, London Fields, who may or may not be Amis, but is just as bad as everyone else. Which is a roundabout way to remind everyone that the long-awaited London Fields movie has finally seen the light of day, and appears to be just as dire as we all dreaded/hoped. And then I remember that it was originally meant to have been directed by David Cronenberg, who would at least have included a bug spray commercial or two, one hopes. I’ll probably try to see it, if only out of morbid fascination; but I bet it’s not as much fun as Pig.