The world of pre-Revolution Persian cinema is completely alien to me - so I gingerly stepped into this adaptation of Steinbeck's seminal book not knowing what to fully expect. It's a strange sort of affair really and was surprising in many ways - mainly in how sexual and violent it all is, looking at the core text and going "we could make this all a bit more nakedly aggressive, couldn't we?". There are multiple scenes of a huge writhing mob of tussling blokes for example. There's also a rather unpleasant choice made with the Curley's Wife character, turning her into a more one-dimensional sex object than the vulnerable figure in the book. It makes what happens seem grimly deserved rather than tragically accidental and it's a nasty little change.
Otherwise, it's quite an earnestly straight retelling, and Essi's (George) helpless predicament with the infantile Topoli (Lenny - here a cross between Eli Wallach's Tuco and the Guilty Cat YouTube video) still feels meaningfully tragic despite the lo-fi jump-cuts and strange "many rabbits dying in a big cage" visual metaphor. Haunting - but not necessarily for all the right reasons. You've got to wonder what Steinbeck, who died a few years before the film came out and to whom the film is dedicated to, would make of it all.
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