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The main purpose of the paper is to study and analyze 2+2=5, a short film directed by Babak Anvari. Anvari is an Iranian film-maker and his work denotes the problems that are present within the contemporary Iranian society. This film has a deep sense for the Iranian state and the entire world to understand what problems are facing people within the totalitarian regime. The film presents a specific interpretation of how society members are subtly conditioned to the rules that exist in the current society, even if they do not feel or are logically correct. The current research is focused on this misbalance and its highest scale within the contemporary Iran. The story of the students within the classroom that are enforced to believe that two plus two equals five by the totalitarian regime within the school demonstrates all the main boundaries standing behind the Iranian society. This movie is a specific allegory for the horrible absurdity of dictatorship and tyranny, and the remarkable resilience of human nature and inner spirit. The theme is extremely touching. That is why it has to be discussed, studied and analyzed within the contemporary world (Ridgeon, 2000).
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The film “2+2=5” tells the story based on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in a more ironic dimension, although the content of the movie is more than the education theme. The act starts from the ring-up for the class, and the principal announces that this day some changes will be implemented during the studies. Then the teacher starts teaching students the equation “2+2=5”. As the equation is truly ridiculous, there is an expectation for strong voice against it, but the teacher enforces students to accept it and represents this equation again and again. Gradually, more and more children start repeating the new rule, but there is one student, who does not want to repeat the false equation and calls it wrong. Finally, he stands on the crossroad, where he decides to keep the side of truth to the end and he is shot by the three top school students. The system ruined the young boundary, but the unexpected outcome appears in the end of the movie: it can be seen that one student writes down the correct equation in his notebook, “2+2+4”. Through the simple story it is possible to see how dictatorship distance people from the truth and how hard it is to stand on the side of truth. But as we can see the truth is inevitable and unstoppable (Watt, 2013).
The main idea of the film creation was to demonstrate to the whole world what problems are present in contemporary Iran and how hard it is for the common people to survive under the constant oppression of dictatorship (Recknagel, 2014). Babak Anvari made this film basing on the experience of his relatives, friends and people of the same origin. It is a non-commercial film that has concrete social targets and represents strong position of the author of the project – to oppose the dictatorship and totalitarian regime. The film itself is a deep allegory and it can be seen from the very beginning of it (Yaghmaian, 2002). It is called 2+2=5, and we know that it is an illogical equation, the example of obviously false dogma that people are required and even enforced to believe in (Hosseini, 2012). And it refers to the wide range of issues within the totalitarian state. In a totalitarian school, what children can possibly do when their teacher is trying to change the truth? The same dilemma is present in the everyday life of each Iranian citizen. The film was targeted to the global audience to see the reality of life of people in Iran and other totalitarian states (Fisk, 1997). This film made great impression on the global audience and critics and, as a result of perfect presentation, film was nominated for BAFTA in 2012 (Watt, 2013).
This short film consists of the series of ironic, depressive, ridiculous and strained elements. The feeling is enriched and strengthened with the usage of indirect detailed characteristics of people. Specific shooting technique provides the ability to demonstrate individual personality of people (Siavoshi, 1997). It is possible to see the constant tension that is present under strict oppression through the way the teacher counts seconds on his watch till the principal’s announcement. The teachers’ stand-up gesture made children stop sitting down and immediately obey in silence. It is perfect allegory to the dictatorship within the state, where all people obey every direct or indirect gesture of the dictator (Tapper, 2002). There is no single moment of smile on the teacher’s face that demonstrates how strict, serious and inflexible this man is. The usage of strong contrast between black and white colors creates depressive atmosphere and the image of unusually strict, stressful and closed studying process. As it was mentioned above, the film has a deep sense. It tells about freedom, love and truth, which are the issues of special importance in the nowadays society (Dabashi, 2012).
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Strong main idea and deep sense demonstrated in the film, made this short film one of the brightest images of the damages totalitarian regimes bring to the lives of common people and the way they try to survive. The depressed mood and cold atmosphere are created through the usage of black and white colors and specific shooting technique that uses direct and indirect detailing of the characters that helped to reveal the real individuality of people. Through the specific details of teacher’s character and reaction of students, director demonstrated the main issues: oppression, education, love, truth, and freedom.
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