19 March 2012 | saturn_gazelle
A true example of the early avant-garde cinema in Iran
"The Dagger" is a special movie in both the theme and style, i.e. it is not conforming to the conventions of the main stream Persian movies of the time. The film, although following a romantic narration accompanied by a famous sing from "Dariush Eghbali", puts its focus on the anomalies of a transforming society. The ugly face of seemingly legal prostitution, which bears a true criminal and compulsive form inside, is manifest through the movie. Scenes of fighting, collective drinking and prison, filled by bitter wit, and usually filmed in immense, empty and isolated locations convoy a sense of emptiness and brutal despair, experienced by many lower class Iranians at the time. None less to say that the striking tones of music intensify this expression.
While one might argue about the political and economical situation in whose context the events occur, the film zooms on individuals, and they search for dignity and respect (a modern western concept of course). One could even notice signs of a quest for revenge, due to a powerful Oedipus complex, in the brutal and controlling manner of the antagonist "Muhammad Deshneh", the master of the harlot house. He reveals at the beginning that he has been born in such a place himself, and therefore considers all of the harlots in the quarter as his own mother. These notions however are subtly expressed during the narration, so that they do not annoy the audience.
In conclusion, The Dagger might be regarded as a representative of the first avant-garde Persian movies, with their emphasis on realism and human dignity, and usually convoying a social message. This new current was halted temporarily by the Revolution of 1979, but has now been able to conquer to a great extent the barriers of censorship and dictatorship, and even gain world wide renown with movies such as "A Separation".