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Isolation, Loneliness, and the Hero’s Journey — “M LIKE MOBIUS”

Directed by Faranak Moradi | Review by Moumita Deb

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]aranak Moradi’s “M like Mobius” is essentially one woman’s story of confronting and eventually triumphing over her slowly consuming isolation in life. Lily (played by Faranak Moradi) is a waitress who’s infatuated with sound.

And while her hypothetical social circle, exists out on the periphery, they are, at best, a source of comfort.

At worst, they make a bad situation even worse.

Lili’s boundaries are exceptionally lax in situations where they should be stronger. But part of her development as a woman is to recognize this for herself.

Lack of Boundaries and a Sense of Isolation

What’s more —

After a phone call that leaves her uncertain about her relationship, she can’t stand her loneliness more than before.

Had she bargained for more?

The symbolic tete-a-tete with her fiancé, swiftly yet cruelly, heralds the signal of a fading relationship.

At home, her solitude and uncertainty consume her. So, she keeps herself absorbingly occupied to keep the pain of parting at bay.

Lily lies on the couch wallowing in isolation.
Screenshot via FilmFreeway

An amiable face, yet lacking in self-assuredness

We have to sit back and understand her pangs of seclusion and join Lily on the journey that is the truest, sometimes most heart-breaking.

As we see her expectations fail, she’s unable to grab a chunk of time from her demanding friends, who stand on the fringe of her life of isolation.

Ultimately, the end of the story is most intriguing, leaving the viewer in a mind-clogged state, full of questions.

M like Mobius” gives us the release we need, and sets the scenes of bitterness, loneliness, and isolation as the beginnings of emotional transformation.

A Hero’s Journey from Isolation

Moradi’s entire movie runs from start to finish without losing the tone at any point. Maybe because it is so hard to make audiences love, care, and think at the same time.

What does the movie really say, about the internal conflicts of a lonely woman?

I don’t think it’s a message picture

Lily looks up at her boyfriend's window, feeling her isolation.
Screenshot via FilmFreeway

I think it’s supposed to make us feel what this woman in this situation (and therefore any woman in such a situation) might go through when life’s hopes clash and collide with the pragmatic world and its bitter reality.

The screenplay is over-cautious and careful not to push too hard. However, even moderately controversial efforts reach a wider audience in ways that sometimes too ideological ones often cannot —

And “M like Mobius” is a classic example of this fact.

It’s the most beautiful portrayal by Moradi, of an embittered yet not so overworked woman, longing for affection and trying to somehow steer out clear, through her void in life.

At the same time, she must overcome the fear of being alone.

It’s About Aloneness That At Times Stings

Sometimes self-indulgent, sometimes dark, hard, bleak, depressing and quite sad. Layers and layers of emotion seem to be rippling underneath her stoic eyes.

In “M like Mobius” Lily at first seems drab, her expression drained and drawn.

She wears a mask.

Like all great actors, Moradi unites with her character, allowing us to feel and see with her.

Lily’s plainness is part of the story’s theme.

It’s a poignant tale of social barriers, with an air of wistful melancholy. Though, in translation, her pathology comes through more strongly than any other emotion.

But beneath her brusque, weary surface there is a soft flow of tenderness and sympathy.

Moradi’s direction meets the expectation of the script scene by scene. And nowhere does she lose the audience’s attention. The camera invites us in and makes us feel as if we are actually observing the private life of the protagonist.

Also, though she dwells too much on a single issue, the film maintains a decent pace.

The narration is simple, yet captivating in its isolation

The film abounds in sequences that Moradi handles with the utmost care. Notable among those are the ones that focus on her obsession with sound.

As with Lily, I respond more to ambient noise and unusual sounds. In my experience, Moradi deals with the early symptoms of acoustic neuroma with enormous courage and conviction.

That’s not all —

The scintillating beauty of Florence at night, vividly captured through the lens, becomes amorously alive, and merges with Lili’s loneliness to look disquietingly real.

Florance at night
Screenshot via FilmFreewway

The camera moves effortlessly from real to surreal (there are delusions like Lily responding weirdly to the sound beyond the door). Also, her natural and spontaneous reactions in searching her unmasked self in the honest mirror, have made some dull scenes fascinating.

M like Mobius, though a film which might garner loads of attention because of its subtle subject, may not impress everyone in the first few moments. However, if you’re willing to see something truly thought-provoking, then your search does not end here.

Give some minutes of your life to this film and you are bound to get an unforgettable ‘experience’ in return.


Moumita-Deb
Moumita Deb

Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking

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