Childhood innocence and the adult world clash in the world premiere of this prescient drama from Iranian filmmaker Amir Toodehroosta. With a background in advertising and short films, Toodehroosta has frequently used filmmaking to challenge and critique Iranian society. With Numb, his second foray into feature-length films, he continues to question his surroundings.
This time the action is restricted to a kindergarten, a world seemingly far removed from real life in Iran. Pre-school is the first and last time boys and girls can learn together freely before entering the strictly segregated education system. Much like the dog in Toodehroosta’s well received first feature Paat (2013), six-year-old Roham plays the often silent witness to the actions unfurling around him. As his curiosity grows, the complicated real lives of the other pupils start to unravel.
As the conflict between freedom and state control bubbles beneath the surface, lessons become peppered with propaganda. As Roham’s relationships develop with the class bully and quiet Rana, he stumbles across disturbing secrets that split open his innocent world.