Movie: The Lizard (2004)

(Persian: مارمولک – transliteration: Marmoulak); Country: Iran; Language: Persian)

It’s an Iranian comedy about a thief known to scale the walls like a lizard. He escapes disguising himself as an Islamic scholar during his treatment at a hospital as a result of an injury in the jail. He manages to trick everyone with his disguise and, by some mistake, ends up as a prayer leader in a mosque (notwithstanding doesn’t know at all how to pray) near a border town from where he’s trying to find people who’d smuggle him across the border into Turkey.

There, he goes to a neighbourhood of disrepute to find the contact who’d forge documents for him but townspeople believe he goes to those neighbourhoods to help the families of prisoners and addicts. Whether he manages to escape or not it’s for you to find out when you watch the movie but the thief finds faith in God through the goodness of people during his deceitful stint at the mosque.

This movie, however, has important cultural value. It’s a clever critique at the social status of religious scholars and how they are able to get away with a lot of things because of their standing in the Iranian society. It also shows blind trust that people put in men of religion. At no point did the film belittles the religion or the scholars yet it was banned in Iran after a short albeit very successful run. I think it hit a few raw nerves.

The light and funny way the director has dealt with this difficult and controversial method is commendable. Parviz Paratui is very good in his role of Reza The Lizard. I’d rate this movie 4/5. IMDb Link

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