Hot Docs 2013: Trucker and Fox: A small Iranian delight

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Trucker and Fox

Directed by Arash Lahooti

Iran | 2012 | 78 min

It is a shame that my native Iran, the home of many stories and many great filmmakers, only fielded one film in Hot Docs this year but this small film was one of those quirky pleasures that one discovers in festivals from time to time. No festival is complete without them.

The film is a glance into the strange life of Mahmood Kiyani Falavarjani, a truck driver battling with mental health issues, after his pet fox died. Falavarjani, living in central Iran, is also a celebrated and internationally-awarded filmmaker, mostly because of the films he has made with animals. His love relationship with foxes, an animal he regards as the least likely to have ever been used as a pet, is at the center of the film but there are also other compelling elements to this canvas. Most of the film is the background to a film Falavarjani himself is trying to make; a film that, characteristically, involves two donkeys and a fox. We are witnessed to the mix of madness and genius that allows him to live a touch closer to the animal kingdom, even if it means assiduously imitating a donkey’s sound.

The camera patiently follows Falavarjani in a verite style in many different settings: His time in the mental hospital, his meetings with a psychiatrist, the screening of his films for fellow truckers, his troubles with employers, those with his wife who is not very enthusiastic about sharing her house with wild desert animals.

The result is a good-looking profile of a strange but interesting man.

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