In the family of Valse with Bachir and Josep, a more than convincing animated war survival, set in 1980 Iran in the midst of the Iraqi invasion
We will not be really surprised to learn that Mermaid either a Les Films d’ici production. Not because this production company is French (you can stop whistling The Marseillaise right away), but because of her rather strong CV, to whom we owe in particular Waltz with Bashir by Ari Folman and Josep d’Aurel, other great memory trips wrapped up in a radically “genre film” form: the documentary for Folman, the prison film for Josep… And Mermaid lines up without blushing at their side. We are in Iran, in 1980, during the Iraqi invasion, in the city of Abadan: while it is about to fall under the battering of the invaders, the young Omid tries to convince a handful of inhabitants to leave Abadan by boat. Unit of time, place, action: Mermaid draws the circle of a somewhat absurd quest, that of persuading a gallery of more or less mystical characters to escape certain death in order (perhaps) to confront another. It’s a nice process of cinema – if one can qualify as nice a film which, like Folman and Aurel, intends to confront the most violent memories of a somewhat forgotten war. The cinema of director Sepideh Farsi, agitated between documentary and fiction (her previous live action fiction film, the migrant drama Tomorrow I cross released in June 2022, did not fully convince us), finds in animation a new and ideal form.
Of Sepideh Farsi. Animation. Duration 1h40. Released June 28, 2023.