Visualization (2022) Short Film Review: What does it mean to visualize? It refers to the act of forming a mental image of a particular thing. Visualization differs from imagination in that the latter requires using all five senses of a human being to construct a mental landscape that feels real; visualization, on the other hand, mainly involves the sense of sight and deals with the ability to concoct a mental image of any object. It is important that we keep this difference in mind before plunging into Abdolrahman Sarraei’s experimental short, Visualization (2022), which draws on the possibilities of the act of visualization. It gives us a glimpse of the act of visualizing and comments on the importance of such an act for an artist to reach their full potential.

Visualization (2022), written, directed, and starring Abdolrahman Sarraei, begins by taking us through a hallway with doors on either side before introducing us to its actors. As the audience is introduced to the act of visualization in the course of its 11 minutes-long runtime, it almost starts to feel like an abstract performance piece, beckoning the viewer to decipher their interpretations. While Sarraei himself acts in the role of the artist, Mojo Mona, a co-star, plays the psychiatrist. The colorless atmosphere of Visualization (2022) confidently transports its audience into a moody, visceral atmosphere that significantly helps with understanding the director’s intent better.

Yet, amid its bold artistic choices, one may feel a certain detachment rather than connection with the scenes. Lingering, simple panning shots accentuate this sense of distance, especially when the camera walks up and down the corridor. For some, the cold colors may leave them longing for a touch of warmth to accentuate the overall aesthetic of the short.

Thematically, Visualization (2022) delves into a host of abstract ideas, allowing the audience to discern multiple layers of meaning around the making (and unmaking) of art. With each viewer and how they choose to visualize the short, the interpretation of the movie will be different. Is the movie a meta-commentary on the act of visualization itself? Perhaps. I personally thought that the act of composing an art and assigning meaning to it afterward is a direct commentary on the short itself.

However, some viewers may think that the film’s primary focus lies in cultivating an evocative atmosphere rather than weaving a tightly-knit narrative, making it challenging to ascertain the source of any connection between the themes and the performances.

Visualization (2022) Short Film Review
Mojo Mona in Visualization (2022)

The intertwining of themes related to art and mental health seeks to create a unique experience. This setting, coupled with a fascinating production design, amplifies the film’s unsettling nature, conveying a sense of muted emotions and experiences. Yet, the few dialogues in the film are difficult to hear or understand because they feel muffled, making the scenes feel somewhat fleeting, failing to culminate into a resonant impact.

Abdolrahman Sarraei and Mojo Mona deliver compelling performances, embodying suspense and mystery. As the film progresses, Sarraei’s personal transformation unfolds on the screen, bringing forth a mesmerizing display of emotions that can resonate with a universal audience. Although possessing an autobiographical essence in its portrayal of the protagonist, who seems entrapped within an institution-like medical clinic, it is safe to say that Visualization (2022) is not for every kind of audience. It may be best suited for audiences with an appreciation for thought-provoking indie cinema, challenging the viewers to engage with its intricacies long after the credits roll.

Enhanced by its sleek audiovisual presentation and dreamlike camerawork, Visualization (2022) by Sarraei crafts a powerful connection between the protagonist and his environment. It aims to gracefully balance artistic expression and abstract storytelling to move the audience, aiming to let them also engage in the act of visualizing. The film’s exploration of a painter’s journey transcends its specific craft, offering a visceral and emotionally relatable experience that defies any uncertainty arising from its abstract nature. It is artistic, and it is challenging. It won Sarraei the award for Best Director at the Golden Lion International Film Festival (2023). If you are into experimental cinema, you should certainly check out Visualization (2022).

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Visualization (2022) Short Film Links: IMDb

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