Killing The Eunuch Khan Image

SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Iranian auteur Abed Abest’s spellbinding Killing The Eunuch Khan is a masterpiece spanning several cinematic genres. It all takes place in a border city during the war between Iran and Iraq. Two little girls, Nasrin (Sara Mohammadi) and Ahoo (Mah-Sima Karbari), play in a beautiful house that stands out amongst the endless apartment towers. Unfortunately, their father (Vahid Rad) has to leave them at home to attend a funeral.

While he is out, a plane accidentally drops a bomb in the yard, leaving a gigantic pit. He comes home to find Nasrin and Ahoo dead and the walls of the house covered in blood. As the father tries to dig a grave in the hard ground, rivers of blood pour down the stairs and out of the house. The pit left behind by the bomb fills with blood, and he leaves the house seeking those responsible. Horrible things happen on the way to the discovery of the man who must stare into the deep pool of blood he created, the Eunuch Khan (Ebrahim Azizi).

 “…a plane accidentally drops a bomb in the yard, leaving a gigantic pit.”

Killing The Eunuch Khan, which Abest wrote and directed, is a visual achievement of the highest order. Hamid Khozouie Abyaneh’s cinematography is an eye-splitting wonder, with the image composition radiating majesty from every frame. Most of this is achieved with overhead shots and angles that would have been impossible in the previous century. The details gleam, from the smallest decorations to the largest spire of Brutalist architecture. The otherworldly presentation of the Middle Eastern city achieves a science-fiction feel from a place in the past, similar to what Fellini created with Satyricon.

This visual feast is enhanced further by Christophe Rezai’s magnificent score. The music adds elegance and strength to the images, raising the already spectacular visuals even higher. The crime drama captivates the eye like a Jodorowsky film while having the epic reach of a Kubrick picture. In fact, the rivers of blood pouring down the circular staircase and out the door is a genius repurposing of the blood-filled elevator from The Shining. The blood-filled pit evokes the pool of holy blood in Santa Sangre. The filmmaker turns in work here that stands on the same level as those masters. He translates the ghastliness of war using expressionistic horror.

The opening titles of Killing The Eunuch Khan state the serial killer uses the victims to kill victims. Here the murderer is senseless conflict, with the victims’ blood running in rivers down the street. Abest employs the horror genre on a symbolic level, where the pain from systemic murder is seen as a flood of gore. And such gorgeous gore as well. The film is an artistic extravaganza with a genre-bending structure and breathtaking imagery. Seldom have the horrors of war have been so well shown in such a spectacularly surreal way.

Killing The Eunuch Khan screened at the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival.

Killing The Eunuch Khan (2022)

Directed and Written: Abed Abest

Starring: Sara Mohammadi, Mah-Sima Karbari, Vahid Rad, Ebrahim Azizi, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Killing The Eunuch Khan Image

"…an artistic extravaganza with a genre-bending structure and breathtaking imagery."

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