DIRECTED BY:BEHZAD RAFI’EE
review by- michael lee
Living high in the hills of Northern Iran, scarf veiled protectively around her head, and a bright pink floral dress from head to toe, seven year old Ranna tightly hugs her pet hen, Kakoli. She obsessively worries about the health of her feathered friend. But then again maybe she’s right to be worried. I mean Kakoli hasn’t laid an egg in days. Maybe she’ll never lay an egg again. And that would be a tragedy. Because what’s a hen to do but lay eggs. A life without egg laying would be sheer misery for a hen. Ranna empathizes deeply with Kakoli’s singular plight. She preaches, nags, and weeps her poor little heart out to her parents about her beloved Hens egg laying deficiency. Finally, driven half around the bend by an onslaught of constant nagging, they concede, and Ranna brings her hen to the Vet.
Of course the Vet assures Ranna, Kakoli’s egg laying days are far from over, and gives Ranna medicine for the hen. Once the hen gets the medicine it’ll be laying eggs like there’s no tomorrow from where the sun don’t shine. At least that’s essentially what the vet says. But that night in the wilds of a lighting storm, as rain thrashes against the tin shingles and window panes, ringing eardrums, Ranna’s feathered friend is locked up in a coop outside. In the aftermath of the storm, in the clearing fresh of morning light, a Jackal appears to have taken Kakoli from her coop. Ranna is left in absolute despair at her hen’s disappearance and undergoes something akin to an existential crises. Ranna falls into an unshakeable silence, refusing to speak. Of course things aren’t quite so clear cut as they initially seem, and from here on out the narrative tension balloons and something of a mystery unfolds.
Behzad Rafi’ee’s versatile direction brings a genuine sense of allure and childlike nativity, to the world of the story. We’re ingratiated into a child’s experience of this environment in northern Iran, with a carefully measured balance of comedy and drama. There’s an understated simplicity to the visual approach which aids the story with masterful subtly.