Hermit [Omid Mirzaei, Islamic Republic of Iran, 2020]


Hermit is a very tragic film about grief and the loneliness that follows it. It’s very simply made, but it conveys quite a lot of emotion with what little tools it uses. This Iranian short follows a homeless man who is surviving out in the desert using a very derelict looking bus for shelter from storms. He spends most of the film alone and in the one location. Throughout the film, he is constantly haunted by the memory of a long-lost lover and suicidal thoughts.


The first thing you will notice about Hermit is how beautifully shot it is. The majesty of the desert is perfectly captured whenever the main character steps outside, whereas the inside of the bus feels cramped, claustrophobic and basically hopeless. What is also fantastic about the film is its direction and writing. There is virtually no dialogue in Hermit. The plot is conveyed mostly through the actors’ facial expressions and some great show-don’t-tell directing. The viewer is always perfectly clear on what is going on in the story even though nothing is outwardly explained. This is not only a commendation for the director but for the actors as well, the lead actor carrying the film with a fabulously depressing performance.


The story itself is genuinely interesting too. There is a great mystery that goes in some very unexpected directions. The ending will definitely take you by surprise. It is also important to note that this is all done within basically one location. It can be very hard to keep an audience's attention without a variety of set pieces, but Hermit manages perfectly well.


Hermit is a very appropriate film for the current climate. In a world where we are forced to stay in our homes with only our thoughts for company, it’s quite easy to relate, in some ways, to the main character. This is all done well without us being reminded of the reason we have to stay at home. This short film will certainly not cure the loneliness and anxiety we are all probably feeling now, but it does remind us that we are never ever truly alone.

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