‘Bitter Dream’ Doing Well at the Box Office
Art And Culture

‘Bitter Dream’ Doing Well at the Box Office

After a 12-year ban, film enthusiasts can see ‘Bitter Dream’ in Iranian cinemas.  
The film begins and ends in an 800-year-old old cemetery near the city of Isfahan in central Iran.  
All that is seen and heard during the 90-minute film is about death and the arrangements for the burial with minute details on religious rites, tradition and rituals.
Unlike the name of the film and the location, the story is everything but eerie, and is interspersed with humor that has the audience laughing.
‘Bitter Dream’, written and directed by Mohsen Amiryusefi, is the story of a mortician, his life and fears and finally his death.
The man in the lead role Esfandiar tells the story with his sweet Esfahani accent. Besides him in the cemetery there are two other characters, a female mortician and a young boy going through his apprenticeship at the mortuary. Their dialogue and interaction during work and in their personal time shows how they feel about their unpleasant job. It also gives some details on the mortuary and burial procedures in other traditions and religions.
The sweet narration of a dark comedy, most of which happens in a grey background with amateur actors who play their roles as if they are living it, makes the film impressive.
The catch is that in real life the actors are actually undertakers.
‘Bitter Dream’ has gone on the screens in several international festivals, including Edinburgh in 2004. It won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 10th Geneva International Film Festival, Switzerland in 2004, and a Special Distinction at Cannes Film Festival in the same year.
Screened in the Art and Experience Cinematic Group, the film has attracted a large audience and is doing well at the box office despite the limited number of cinemas screening it.

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