Writer-director Abdolrahman Sarraei’s Visualization shows that stories and art are not always about the narrative but the emotions they can evoke. In this experimental short film, the audience is placed in a dreamlike state, floating down a corridor of doors. Behind one of the doors is an artist dipping his hands in paint and smearing on canvas in an “X” pattern.
Later, the artist presses his lips in red paint and then kisses the top of the X. We then see a row of four people sitting in chairs and being asked what they think. Before they can answer, the setting shifts to a mental ward or, maybe worse, a tribunal, where the artist is interrogated/tortured for his art.
“…the artist is interrogated/tortured for his art.”
Experimental is the best way to describe Visualization. Rather than allowing the audience to sit back and watch the story unfold, filmmaker Sarraei asks his audience to engage with the imagery and feel what’s happening on screen. Let’s be real. We’re being asked to work, and not everyone is willing to do that.
I was tempted to Google the Iranian/Kurdish artist’s tumultuous life being exiled from Iran in 2019. But ultimately, experimental film is about embracing what is on the screen, allowing the artist to guide you on an emotional journey, and letting you bring your experience with Sarraei. In the end, I still don’t know much about Sarraei’s struggles. But what I do know from the stark imagery is what kind of artist he is and out much of himself he puts in his art. Sarraei put a lot of himself into Visualization.
For more information, visit the Visualization Instagram page.
"…stories and art are not always about the narrative but the emotions they can evoke."