2020, Iran, 18’, Dir. Mostafa Salehi Nezhad, Persian / Turkish subtitles
In the Iranian city of Ahvaz, the coronavirus has not only caused many deaths, bit it has also created a crisis in burial traditions. According to the obligations of Islam, a body must undergo ritual washing by hand in order to move on to the hereafter cleansed. But few people are willing to touch a corpse of someone who died as a result of Covid-19. During the early months of the pandemic, before a vaccine had been developed, director Mostafa Salehi Nezhad was able to convince a small crew to join him in following the corpses to the ritual washing rooms and speaking with the volunteers compelled by their faith to undertake the dangerous task of performing Islamic rites for victims of Covid-19. Nezhad’s intense documentary compels the audience to reflect on the unpleasant realities of the pandemic as well as on our own mortality.