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Review: Iranian black comedy ‘Pig’ skewers 21st century culture

Review: Iranian black comedy ‘Pig’ skewers 21st century culture
Hasan Majuni in a scene from the movie "Pig." (Daricheh Cinema)

Nothing sets the Valentine’s mood quite like a pitch-black Iranian comedy about a succession of famous filmmakers who keep turning up dead with the word “Pig” carved into their severed heads, but such is the audaciously unorthodox allure of Mani Haghighi’s irresistibly wicked satire of the same name.

When his colleagues initially succumb to the same grisly fate, blacklisted director Hasan Kasmai (a terrific Hasan Majuni) understandably fears for his own life, even as he’s increasingly preoccupied with the activities of his go-to actress Shiva (Leila Hatami), who’s impatient to get back to work, even if it means working with his rivals.

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But as the body count mounts, Kasmai, who, before being branded an anarchist, made hit movies such as “Rendezvous in the Slaughterhouse,” finds his anxiety soon turning into resentment, protesting he’s being unfairly overlooked by the elusive assailant.

Writer-director Haghighi, who impishly name-checks himself among the early victims, pulls few punches with his acerbic attack on social media-driven culture, but those hits often land with laugh-out-loud results.

Key to that success is the presence of Majuni, whose narcissistic man-child wears his rumpled insecurity like one of his stretched-out classic rock T-shirts.

With its parade of finger-pointing vloggers, picture-posting stalkers and hijab-wearing, smartphone-clutching schoolgirls, “Pig” (“Khook”) makes it savagely clear Western society hasn’t cornered the market on selfie-centered behavior.

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‘Pig’

In Farsi with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Laemmle Town Center 5, Encino

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