Short Film Analysis: Lunch Time (2017)

Lunch Time is a 15-minutes 2017 Persian film that was written and directed by Alireza Ghasemi. The film was co-produced by Ghasemi himself and The Global Community of Silent Filmmakers (The Globe CSF).The masterpiece film opens with a scene of a teenage girl (16-year-old) who has presented to the hospital to identify the remains of her dead mother. However, the young girl cannot be allowed into the morgue by the receptionist on grounds that she does not have any identification documents including a photo identity card.

The girl faces a lot of obstacles due to bureaucracies and policies that are implemented to her disadvantage because she does not have anybody from her family to help her. In this short film analysis paper I will argue that Lunch Time by Alireza Ghasemi is a film about how society continues to oppress the girl child instead of supporting and empowering her. The film writer/director has used film form, narrative form, mise-en-scène, and cinematography to illustrate this idea.

In terms of film form, Lunch Time opens in such a manner that the viewer is able to see the obstacles that the young girl has to face before she is allowed in to see her mother (01:30 – 03:49). This is notwithstanding the fact that she was brought to the hospital specifically to identify her mother who just passed away. This develops on the narrative that in this part of the world, young girls face a lot of obstacles and in most cases there is no one to help them. The situation that this young finds herself in is not very unique but it is surprising how everyone fail to regard her as an autonomous human being. Her encounters with the receptionist and hospital authorities serve to mirror the patriarchal society in which she comes from which has continuously failed to recognize and empower the female gender. It becomes apparent that she faces most of the obstacles primarily because she is not accompanied by a man who perhaps can vouch for her.

Cinematographically, the storytelling in Lunch Time has intelligently used a naturalistic camerawork to bring out the societal obstacles that many young girls face in this society. Here, Alireza has insidiously undergirded this society treats vulnerable people and especially girls who have nobody to speak or vouch for them. Considering the dialogue in the film, it is apparent that the characters are merely doing their jobs and they do not want to compromise or change the bureaucracies and established policies (04:55 – 06:00). The morgue attendants customarily interrogate the young girl as part of the office bureaucracies before letting her in to identify her mother.

In terms of the mise-en-scène, the film’s second half tends to create a new layer as the viewers are left in suspense and tension builds up (09:00 – 12:00). The viewers are left with critical narrative questions that require answers. As the young girl frisks the body of her dead mother and takes a spoon to open her mother’s mouth, the audience’s attention is attracted and tension piles up. The viewer wonders what the young girl might be looking for.Through the ordeals and encounters of this young girl, the film writer intends to describe how the Persian society continues to look down and oppress many young women who seek to realize their dreams in life. The film writer also seek to reflect what it looks like to live in a patriarchal society which does not regard women as a worthy human beings. However, as the film draws to its end, the audience is treated to a powerful portrayal of the controls and dominations that the young girl manages to achieve at various levels. Essentially, many young girls in this society have not been able to realize true freedom as compared to boys and young men.
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