Synopsis by Nathan Southern
The semi-documentary Conversation with the Shadow undertakes one of the most difficult subjects for cinematization - a writer's life - and places the subject in an "investigative" framework to suggest long-buried secrets just now being unearthed by the filmmakers. Director Khosrow Sinai opens the picture with three young Iranian men (a film critic, a film researcher and a literature professor) eager to learn more about the legendary Persian belletrist Sadeq Hedayat - the "Tolstoy of Iran," who, after a life of astonishing literary feats, stunned the world by gassing himself to death in 1951. Within Sinai's film, the actor/participants first hold a séance to "summon" the writer's spirit, then view extended clips from three classic films (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu and The Golem) said to have influenced one of his major works, the gothic horror novel The Blind Owl. After the movie critic discusses the connections between the motion pictures and the roman, Sinai then guides the film into explorations of Hedayat's time in Europe and India, and concludes it with a protracted segment speculating on why he ended his life at age 48 - an act possibly tied to a lost Parisian love named Therese.
critic, investigation, movie, professor, research, scholar, seance