A female journalist lays a black egg one day.
Boycotted due to writing a critical article, she gets lonely every day. Losing her love, relationships and work and feeling under observation, she makes a decision
Chakavak KafiDirectorBurial of a Smile- short film - 2020 (writer) Private Property- theatre- 2022 (writer)
Chakavak KafiWriterBurial of a Smile- short film - 2020 (writer) Private Property- theatre- 2022 (writer)
Chakavak KafiProducerBurial of a Smile- short film - 2020 (writer) Private Property- theatre- 2022 (writer)
Malihe YazdaniKey Cast"Simin (the woman)"
Ahmad Nik-khouKey Cast"the editor"
Hamid ZamenzadeKey Cast"V. O."
Project Type:Short, Student
Runtime:17 minutes 11 seconds
Completion Date:February 8, 2023
Production Budget:230 USD
Country of Filming:Iran, Islamic Republic of
Chakavak Kafi grew up in Shiraz, Iran. Her early stabs at creating were the school plays, poems and stories. Today she is a graduate student at the University of Tehran in drama. After writing several award-winning short stories, plays and screenplays, ‘The Balls’ is her micro-budget directorial debut. Fascinated by Oriental literature she uses symbols and magic in her work. Her main career goal is to direct feature films for international studios. She is currently working on a short war animation ‘The Wart’.
The Balls – Statement:
This is the first time that a message is conveyed all by myself. A very different experience from being the writer only. The initial spark of the plot crossed my mind by reading the short story The Kidney–Shaped Stone That Moves Every Day by Haruki Murakami. The idea of a moving object revolved so much in my head that it eventually appeared in the form of an egg!
Since the very beginning, I wanted the final scene to be set in a composition similar to Death of Marat by "Jacques-Louis David". This helped me think of setting up the previous scenes according to his other masterpieces, as well.
Photos emphasize it again that only a slice of reality is shown to the audience. The interpretation given by the voice over is also only one point of view and probably the filthiest one.
One of my favourite subjects is the “guilty victim”. A character who has bad deeds, but not as bad that they deserve such punishment. I used the voice over as a tool to criticize and even attack the character. She is forbidden from what she likes and is criticized for not being good enough in what she does not like. The voice is deliberately loud, obnoxious and unnerving. It promotes an ideal: A delicate submissive weak woman. Ironically the voice claims to be a she!
Although the woman is the only thing that is constantly seen inside the frame, I tried not to get too close to her private life. However, we see her in the toilet. Laying eggs is not a private matter but a social act. A manifestation of her creativity as a journalist along with her unstoppable fertility as a woman. By using "balls" and not "eggs" I tend to refer to the concept of courage and by the way feminize it.
Silent characters are my favourites. Her anger only manifests in her eggs. And finally, when she feels completely desperate, she only hurts herself. Although the ending of the film may seem bitter at first glance, breaking the egg is a spark of hope. Her ball may be hated or denied, but it exists.
In the establish shot, instead of a general open view, I have used a collage of several shots to both induce an impression of the space and grab attention. Also, by choosing a very wide frame and a close-up, I could show the actress in the most private place without depicting her head. With a similar motivation, I have filmed from below the actor's neck in other parts of the film. However, removing the head as a seat of intelligence was also considered.
We start with a wide rectangle and long takes. It gradually gets to short and numerous shots; stuck in a suffocating square in which the woman is trapped in. The colour of the film changes from warm in cold because of the same reason.
Editing style that was like blinking turns into a quick blinking as the frame becomes a square. Like an unbelievable reality that becomes more unbelievable every moment.
I mostly used a white location because I wanted the protagonist and her original egg to be the only dark spots on the image. Similar to the prevailing perception that the society of the film world - and the voice over on their behalf - has towards such a woman. She is the Black Sheep. That’s why I claimed This film to be an everyday story.
Football was just a repetitive element. Male players on the field and a man's report on it! And this is the only possibility given to a woman for entertainment.
Iranian New Year (Nowruz) happens in the spring. (Makes sense, doesn't it?) Haftsin, the related custom has different items. One is greenery that should be planted. It is also customary to tie a greenery knot to fulfil a wish. Another tradition is coloring eggs, which was meaningfully related to the theme of my film.
As far as possible, I have done all the behind-the-scenes, pre-production, etc. myself. As for the other work, almost all the group were my friends and they did not get paid. I only covered the cost of renting the equipment and the sound engineer by selling a gold bangle of my mother.
Being a student and working on a master's thesis, as well as unforeseen events and conditions, caused the editing process and the releasing to take too long. Least thing I learned from this experience was that, contrary to my initial idea, to lower costs, professional agents should be used, not amateurs!
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