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Slamdance 2020 Review: “Majnuni” (2020) ★★★


There is a unique filmmaking style only inherent to Iranian filmmakers. Whether it is the fluid shot, melancholic soundtrack, and specific approach towards performance, the Persian touch turns everything into pure gold. While “Majnuni” may not be a strong contender for glorious success, however, in its own way it can celebrate an important milestone for being a film that haunts the audience with its beauty from start to end.

“Majnuni”, written and directed by Kouros Alaghband, follows Adnan (Adnan Omerović), a man who storms into the house of his old love, Nela (Nela Baždar). As he begins stalking her through the night, Nela, in the meantime, makes her way out of the house in the hope that Adnan will never find her again. But the man, who is entangled with his own identity, recreates a romantic universe for himself as he drives on the road leaving one brick of disappointment after another.

Set in the war-torn city of Sarajevo, Adnan, who we find passed out in the beginning and being dragged out of a cab, finds himself in Nela’s house. No explanation is provided as to how he even gets to that building or the fact that some neighbors didn’t recognize him from before. But the fact that he makes way straight to Nela’s house and she’s not kicking him out immediately shapes the narrative of the film from that moment on. It seems, when we find Adnan awake, he has lost his mind; not in a dangerous way though. He is alert and sober but as he chases the bus down to track Nela and her son down, we know for sure he won’t give up until he reunites with the only thing that brings him happiness – his lost and found love.

As for the film itself, “Majnuni” is a slow-burning drama that offers a nostalgic view into love and despair. Almost like a dream, we follow the protagonist through his imagination and his interpretation of events that occur right before his eyes. As he splits into an entangled personality, through the music we realize what has happened between him and Nela and why their paths were set apart. Whether he made this up or is really happening, we grow to trust him even though Nela may choose to do otherwise. Certain shots are fabulous and dreamlike while the film itself is a surreal journey unfolding the deep meaning of Majnun, as a form of longing that makes a lover go insane.

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