Directed by: #NimaAkbarpour
Written by: #NimaAkbarpour
Shot like a documentary and based on actual events (although the film’s story is fictionalised), I’m Not My Body details one man’s struggle against state-sanctioned cyberattacks.
Saman (Reza Zohreh Kermani), an Iranian immigrant living in the UK, moved abroad to begin a new life. He works as a news anchor on a Persian TV channel, lives with his pregnant wife, Parastoo (Ania Assadi-Sabet), and has a close circle of friends. Things could hardly be going any better. That is until he becomes the victim of a horrific and sustained attack by an anonymous party (heavily implied to be the Iranian Government). His phone camera is hacked, and naked photos are repeatedly uploaded to social media to discredit him, causing his friendships and marriage to become strained.
Writer/Director, Nima Akbarpour bases his film on the personal experiences he’s had as an Iranian (technology) journalist living abroad. Having suffered such attacks himself, this is an incredibly intimate piece of filmmaking...and it shows. I’m Not My Body is overflowing with an emotional vibrancy, and the film’s cast delivers suitably powerful and heartfelt performances. While the relationship between the group of friends feels relatable and natural. Kermani is the epicentre of this emotional dissonance and gives the strongest performance in the lead role. Hardly surprising, really. But, honestly, there isn’t a bad showing anywhere to be found, and Hosain Radvar-Zangeneh (as Omid) is damn near perfect as Saman’s supportive but worried friend.
Akbarpour furthers the empirical style of filmmaking by employing the use of documentary-like techniques throughout a large portion of his film. Fixed-place cameras, shaky cams, close-up shots, and off-centre framing are used with incredible efficacy by cinematographer Reza Afshar. So much so it took me a while to realise that this wasn’t, in fact, a documentary, but a fictionalised story based on actual events. This is an attestation to both the performances on display and the quality of the technical aspects of the movie.
There are a few issues here and there (I think I saw one or two slight spelling mistakes in the subtitles) but honestly, these aren’t going to ruin your enjoyment of the film unless you want them to. I’m Not My Body covers much in its 25-minute runtime. As well as the main narrative, several branching stories are being told, ones you can easily miss if you don’t pay attention. Some involving Saman’s friends, extended family, and a particularly heartbreaking issue involving Parastoo (Saman’s wife). The fact that the film manages to juggle all of these different elements and conclude them naturally, in such a short amount of time, is awe-inspiring and immensely rewarding. Fantastic Iranian/British filmmaking, rife with poignancy in our age of fake news and political turmoil that deserves your attention.