Analysis Saturday Matinees Preview

Saturday Matinees Preview: Pick (2021)

Director: Shahoo Ahmadi

Writer: Shahoo Ahmadi

Cast: Freydon Aliramaie

Running time: 7mins

Films by artists from low-income backgrounds, by opposition groups hit by censorship, or by individuals in nations hit by international sanctions, still need a platform. This year, Indy Film Library is looking to provide them with one.

Over the next six weeks, the first season of our Saturday Matinees will showcase work from Brazil, Iran, Egypt and other places where monetary and legal constraints have prevented the free communication of political and social issues.

The fourth film in our series comes from Shahoo Ahmadi of Iran. The job of a first-time filmmaker is difficult enough without struggling to get your work seen due to international sanctions – and Ahmadi sent his film for Saturday Matinees on this basis.

Speaking on Pick, he told Indy Film Library, “My filmmaking aims to discover the small moments of life, and the simple and everyday connections we make with other humans and the environment… Storytelling on these topics is incredibly magical to me, and adding a personal perspective is something I like to do in my films.”

According to Ahmadi, Pick is an effort to do just this. Reflecting on childhood memories, the simple short film focuses on a group of young boys raiding an old man’s orchard.

The man (played by Freydon Aliramaie) takes a break from harvesting his crop of apricots, only to fall asleep beneath one of the great trees. The imagery is rich and warm, and it is easy to see why it might have been surprisingly easy to fall asleep in these enchanting surroundings. Upon waking, however, the man finds several youngsters charging away from his trees – one politely leaving his stolen fruits on the ground in silent apology.

This act seems to move the old man, whose demeanour seems to moderately warm to the youngsters. When he sees them again by a stream, he tolerates their presence, and a montage of fruit-gathering suggests he shares the spoils of his garden with them.

It is not an especially complex story – and honestly there does not appear to be much subtext I can glean from it. That could be because I am not familiar with Iranian culture, and who knows, there might be a deep socio-political comment playing out here – but more likely, I suspect it is because Ahmadi just wanted to serve us up a short, sweet memory of a kind old man who shared fruit with local youngsters.

It’s a small moment put together from happy memories – a simple and unique portrait of compassion and connections. That might not be the high-minded and challenging content I tend to favour… but who is to say there isn’t something “magical” about that, as Ahmadi himself infers?

The film will be available to view in full from tomorrow, until the end of the weekend, via our Saturday Matinees theatre page. As the film is still trying to gain access to other festivals, the page is password protected. Use the code IFLMATINEE2223 to access the film.

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