0 3 mins 2 mths

As Rom and Kalya explore the confines of their new temporary home, panic, jealousy, and tedium are illustrated in goofy vignettes that involve horseplay, probing word games, and absurd arguments over precautions including hand-cleansing, signaling that “New Strains” is taking flight into the realm of satire. The filmmakers relieve the visual constriction of the environment with silly touches including jaunty musical cutaways to the uncle’s collection of nautical-themed paintings.  

At a press conference, Kamalakanthan remarked that one of the catalysts for the project, filmed entirely and authentically under the couple’s early Covid lockdown, was the discovery of Shaw’s childhood Hi8 camera in a closet. The low-tech look of the now-obsolete format, along with the camera’s 240X zoom capacity, enabled them to give the film a handmade visual aspect that matches the homely personal quality of the narrative, which according to Kamalakanthan, takes place “in the disjuncture between the world ending, and being extremely bored while it ends.”


Standing out in the Tiger Competition for its intricately crafted subtlety, the Iranian film “Numb” by Amir Toodehroosta plays bait and switch with viewer expectations. “Numb” is set in a kindergarten, the only educational level in Iran at which boys and girls are not yet segregated into gender-specific classes.  In the course of the opening minutes, the film appears to be a classroom documentary in the vein of Nicolas Philibert’s 2002 international hit “To Be and to Have,” or the 2016 Dutch documentary “Miss Kiet’s Children.”  Cute antics prevail, up to a point, with contrariness often hilariously confounding the intentions of the teachers.

A teacher warns one little five-year-old to adjust her scarf to completely cover her hair.  As soon as the adult is out of sight, the child slyly slides it halfway back on her head. As the children rehearse for an upcoming show for the parents, a boy is prompted to dance. He turns his back to the class and launches into a provocative butt-wriggling performance that gets him quickly yanked back to his seat by the teachers. In one session, the mullah providing moral instruction to the children is thrown by the off-the-wall question, “Where do babies come from,” eliciting a sanctimonious “praying for them,” answer.

Source link