Mani Haghighi’s Khook (“Pig”) has now been screened at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival (a/k/a Berlinale), already garnering attention and praise. Variety sat down with Haghighi to discuss the filmmaker’s work, whose A Dragon Arrives! was previously screened in competition at the 66th Berlinale.
Carefully parsing the challenging material in his black comedy, the director discussed censorship in Iran and the references in Khook: “It’s referencing some things, but it’s not referencing a person, or a group of people or anything like that. Of course in Iran it’s not just Jafar [Panahi] [who is blacklisted]. But there isn’t an actual list of directors who are unable to work…It’s not a cut-and-dried situation.”
Haghighi also discussed social media use in his country: “Even though Facebook and Twitter are technically banned, everybody uses them, including the president.”
Khook tells the story of a director in Iran whose filmmaking colleagues are apparently being hunted down by a serial killer, and his frustration at not having yet been made a target.
Hassan Majooni plays the lead in the film, with Leila Hatami co-starring—the director calls her a “childhood friend,” with Khook being her first foray into comedy.
Check out the full and insightful interview here, and we hope that Khook is picked up for wide distribution soon.
Cover photo: Hassan Majooni, Leila Hatami, Mani Haghighi