From the 11th of January, London will be graced again with the best short films the movie industry has to offer. The London Short Film Festival (LSFF) will take you on a 10-day rollercoaster filled with national, international and animation short films. One of the amazing films that will be screened in “Gaze” (original title: “Negah”) from director Farnoosh Samadi (“Il silenzio”, “The Role”). While touring around the world, the film won eight awards and it comes as no surprise that the LSFF has added the film to its line-up. “Gaze” tells an incredibly human and emotional story including dilemma’s that can happen to anyone of us.
“To tell or not to tell”? That’s the question. At least in this movie. A veiled woman, who’s working late night shifts for two weeks straight, is taking the bus home. During a dark rainy evening, living in a men’s world and worrying about her own family, she’s clearly uncomfortable and anxious during the bus ride. It gets even worse for her when she’s the witness to a theft on the bus. From that moment, she’s being torn apart between telling the truth and hold her silence. Which decision will she take? It’s certainly one that will have definite consequences for her.
Just like in his previous movies such as “The Silence” (“Il silenzio”) and “The Role”, Samadi decided to focus on social issues or dilemmas. “Gaze” isn’t just about saving yourself or telling the truth but it’s also about the repression of women. It’s clear that the leading lady is being looked down upon by some of the men on the bus. She’s also afraid that if she decides to tell the truth, she might not be believed because she’s “just a woman”.
When it comes to the cinematography and acting performances, there’s not much to tell apart from the fact that they fit beautifully with the storyline. Thanks to Marzieh Vafamehr (“Belly’s Suction”, “Wind, Ten Years Old”), we see and feel the emotions her character is going through and when she’s confronted with the thief, those emotions become even more enhanced. Especially because of the rain drops, the dark weather, the shifty bus, and the deserted area.
If you don’t have any plans on Wednesday the 16th of January, then book your tickets for the “International: A hostile world” programme at the LSFF. You will discover five captivating films and “Gaze” certainly belongs on that list. It’s an intriguing movie featuring an absolutely fitting cinematography and performance while putting the audience in front of some social dilemma’s.
(This review was written for the London Short Film Festival)