Director: Farhad Delaram
Producer: Dena Rassam
Writers: Farhad Delaram, Dena Rassam
Cast: Behdokht Vallian, Mojtabba Fallahi, Anahita Eghbalnezhad
Directed and written by Farhad Delaram, Tattoo is a short film from Iran released in 2019. It stars Behdokht Valian in what is one truly terrific performance.
It follows an Iranian woman who experiences consistent abuse by the authorities for having a tattooed body and a broken finger. She wants to renew her driver’s license, but the officials cannot let her with those physical attributes. She then has to endure progressively worse examination by the doctors and evaluators.
The film thus takes a much necessary look into the many struggles that women constantly face in the Arab countries. The immense scrutiny and examination that the protagonist faces here is inexcusable, and doesn’t at all have any correlation with her driving skills to which they allude to very manipulatively.
The movie in my opinion is about sexism in these countries, and how inescapable it is on a daily basis unfortunately. The situations become worse and worse to the point of becoming unbearable at the end. The choice to end it at its most unpleasant moment was crucial for leaving the audience in a heightened emotional state.
Tattoo also has strong technical merits. Starting with the cinematography, every shot is very immaculately composed with the fixed camera angles creating a sense of claustrophobia and imprisonment for our protagonist. It was a superb choice that paid off stupendously in a narrative and emotional sense.
I also found the direction and writing from Farhad Delaram terrific, and he is to be congratulated for doing such a great dual role here. The acting is also fantastic across the board with the standout naturally being Behdokht Valian whose work here is magnificent. She is very believable and she pulled off a genuinely difficult, emotional role.
The subdued emotion is fantastic and very evident on her face. The entire film is very heartbreaking, and consistently managing to make the audience angry and frustrated which is exactly the point from a storytelling and message perspective. It lasts for just the right amount of time owing to a very strong pace while the editing is very deft as well.
Tattoo is thus a very strong, highly emotional dramatic short film. Its acting is phenomenal, especially from the lead actress, the cinematography is quite inspired and the intensity is felt throughout its runtime. It’s the kind of film that can leave you in a very bad state, but necessarily so as these types of situations happen, and they need to be seen to be believed.