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Navozande, The Musician review: A poignant, exquisitely crafted love story

Release Date: 2020 / 15min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Reza Riahi’s animated short affirms the idea that a picture speaks a thousand words.

Reza Riahi’s lovingly crafted animated short Navozande, The Musician, is set in the thirteenth century, at the time when Mongol invaders laid siege to Persia. Amidst this turmoil, unfolds the story of two lovers ruthlessly separated by the leader of the marauding army. Fifty years after the incident, after Persia bowed to the invader, a blind musician revisits the place to perform at the castle of the Mongols. 

We see the musician making his way to the castle and quietly settling down in his designated space amidst the hustle-bustle of the court. As the first strains of music float in, an old woman inside the castle is transported to a different time.

The stop-motion cutout form of animation conjures up the historicity of the era, with the flashback scenes in unfinished black and white drawings. The smooth transitions between the different periods of time juxtapose the images between the past and the present seamlessly while the racy editing creates a tempo as we witness the coming of the army which destroys the town and leaves destruction in its wake.

The meticulously created drawings capture the vivid emotions of the characters with only a slant of the eyes, or a small gesture revealing their state of mind. Particularly noteworthy is the character of the emperor. His tyranny is signified through small movements that create a menacing effect and he encircles the musician like a shark would its prey.

Riahi’s film affirms the idea that a picture speaks a thousand words. Without any dialogue and an achingly beautiful score by Saba Alizadeh, the film encapsulates the longing that the two lovers have felt for each other and the overwhelming emotion of their tragic love. It also bears testimony to how exquisite art can spring from something deeply painful. In its own way, the moving love story pays homage to the countless victims of authoritative power.

The film received the Best Animated Short Award at the 20th Tribeca Festival and won a Special Mention for Best Animated Short at the recently concluded Palm Springs International ShortFest 2021.


Related topics

Palm Springs Short Festival

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