April 15th, 2021


Watched the film President directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film portrays the events happening in an "unknown fictitious country" (the film was actually picturized in Georgia) after the dictator in the country is overthrown by a revolution. "His Majesty", as the dictator is simply called in the film, and his grandson are unable to escape from the country and are now trapped. They have to find ways to not get caught by the revolutionaries who are trying to capture them.

It appeared to me that the initial scenes of the film had a slightly soft approach towards the dictator, even though there is a lot of satirical elements used to convey his authoritarian nature. Perhaps the scenes involving his interactions with his cute little grandson is what made me feel so. However, we get to know more about the brutalities of his regime and its impact on common people as the film progresses, through the words of a set of prisoners who were just released and are on their way back home. Also, the way the dictator treats a barber and his son would also give a glimpse of his attitude towards people. However, Makhmalbaf gives a balanced outlook via scenes showing the crimes committed by the soldiers who are now representing the revolution. The film ends with a positive note - that probably indicates what Makhmalbaf has to suggest on the ways to punish such dictators.

The most outstanding things in the film I felt were Mohsen Makhmalbaf's direction, and the amazing performance by child actor Dachi Orvelashvili who plays as the grandson. Mohsen Makhmalbaf's narrative style mixes realistic scenes occasionally with frames bordering on surrealism to create a very unique viewing experience, and this was seen in films like The Day I Became a Woman, which he had co-written and was directed by Marzieh Makhmalbaf. Overall, President was a brilliant watch.