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Sepideh Farsi’s animated film The Siren was conceived nine years ago, when the world was noticeably different. The protests over women’s freedoms in Iran, where Farsi lived until she was 18, hadn’t erupted. The military conflicts between Ukraine and Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Israel and Palestine were not yet on the horizon. The Siren itself is set in the past, during the attack on the Iranian city Abadan during the Iran-Iraq War.

A movie that looks backwards has acquired new meaning because of current events. Apart from its thematic concerns, The Siren is a gorgeous piece of animation, combining to dazzling effect the attributes of the filmmaking form with Iranian musical traditions and Farsi’s vision.

The Siren will be shown at the International Film Festival of Kerala (December 8-15) alongside two other animated films: Sultana’s Dream, a loose adaptation of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s feminist novel of the same name, and the period drama The Peasants, the new production from the makers of Loving Vincent.

Fans of animation at IFFK will find much to savour in The Siren. The movie has densely detailed backdrops that reimagine Abadan in 1980, a stirring story of connections forged amidst the carnage of war, and an ode to the power of music.

The story revolves around 14-year-old Omid, who is staying put in Abadan with his…

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Abdul Gh Lone

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