Directed by: #ZgjimTerziqi
Written by: #ZgjimTerziqi
Salon, a 2019 short film directed and written by Zgjim Terziqi, proves itself as a shining example of the virtues of simple, understated filmmaking. Taking place solely within the walls of the titular salon and focusing mainly on a family of women who enter the establishment in order to get a haircut for one of their group, a bride to be, the film is driven almost entirely by smart dialogue and a perceptive insight into the way people behave.
Though this film is shot in Kosovo, its characters and conversation could be found in any hair salon across the world. The way that the people gossip about their family members, the “good old days”, and the case of a local woman who has murdered her husband all ring true to the tone and type of chatter which is usuallu found in a community space such as this. One moment in which an older woman, played by Igballe Qena, brags of how intelligent her grandchild is and that he reads Aesop’s fables on his iPad all day, while he sits out of her eyesight doodling penises on the aforementioned tablet, is hilarious in its incisiveness, spotlighting the empty bluster of salon gossip.
In fact, Salon’s greatest strength lies in its ability to realistically portray people in all their individual quirks of character and imperfections. One moment in which a somewhat narcissistic, uptight woman, played by Irena Cahani, patronisingly accuses a hairdresser of not having understood her instructions only for her face to turn sour when she is immediately proven wrong is the type of moment of human truth which the film thrives on. It’s understated realism and honest conversation rarely seems fabricated.
But it is the case of the husband murderer which truly holds this films attention and sparks its intriguing subtexts. While on the surface much of the dialogue around this event seems like regular gossip, there is a conversation about the reliability of social media as a news source underpinning it. One of the women is happy to accept the news she gets from Facebook about the murder while simultaneously discrediting the information that another woman, a proper journalist, has. This seems to ask pertinent questions about gossip as a wider part of our culture, particularly in relation to the way that ‘fake news’ is spread so easily on the internet.
Salon thus clearly shows itself to be an intelligent, thoughtful short film. It is therefore something of a shame when it tries to deliver a sensational shock as its final moment, as the film’s slow exploration of human beings was compelling enough to render this type of twist ending unnecessary. The overt, indiscreet manner of this final moment seems to jar against the film’s generally understated style. Nevertheless, this is not in itself enough to discredit Salon’s overall quality. It is a resonant human drama, engaging in its subtlety and genuinely worth watching.