A Dragon Arrives!

A Dragon Arrives! poster

A Dragon Arrives! movie poster

Mixing a fantastic tale with a fake documentary and political commentary, A Dragon Arrives! is an intricate work coming from Iran. Written and directed by Mani Haghighi (Modest Reception), the film centers on a mysterious haunted cemetery where earthquakes occur whenever somebody gets buried.

The film opens with detective Babak Hafizi (Amir Jadidi) being interrogated following the assassination of the Iranian prime minister in 1965. During the interrogation, Babak refers to an old unresolved investigation in a haunted cemetery, the movie then switching to flashbacks to tell us that story. Another narrative thread is then introduced, the filmmaker (Haghighi) himself appearing in present time as he’s making a documentary about the whole story which is somewhat linked to his real-life grandfather’s landmark Iranian New Wave movie The Brick and the Mirror.

Switching between these 3 narrative threads, A Dragon Arrives! is enjoying taking the audience in various directions, blurring the limits between fiction and reality, playing with movie genre codes and symbolism while aspiring to deliver a political message about dissidence and religion. For those who might be worried that such an elaborate allegorical work might be too pretentious, the filmmaker also injects some doses of humor and eccentricity that keep spectators entertained all along,

The beautiful saturated photography, the presence of an old American car – an orange Chevy Impala – and abandoned boat make A Dragon Arrives! even more fascinating, making it reminiscent of Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog’s universes.

While everything looks good, I must admit I found the story pretty confusing and this is one of these movies that require multiple viewings to get deciphered, though I’m not sure if everything is supposed to make sense or if the filmmaker overstuffed his work with symbols and narrative threads he doesn’t fully master.

Challenging its audience, A Dragon Arrives! is an intriguing and puzzling film, its overzealous ambition proving to be both its strength and its flaw.

Director: Mani Haghighi – Actors: Amir Jadidi, Homayoun Ghanizadeh – Running Time: 1:45 – Year: 2016 – Country: Iran
Click here to watch the A Dragon Arrives! trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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