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Film Review: The Musician
by Kathryn Loggins

Animated Short
Written and directed by Reza Riahi

Winner of the Best Animated Short Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Musician is a silent animated film that is beautifully rendered and quite touching. It has a 2D quality to it and most of the animation looks like watercolor paintings that are a bit drab in color palette, but nonetheless striking to look at. The story is a simple tale about an old blind man who journeys to a palace to play his music as entertainment for a grand feast. What sets the film apart, is that it takes place in the time of the Mongolian invasion of Persia around 1219 and this blind Persian man is basically a slave to the Mongol ruler (or Kahn) he is set to play for. Through black and white drawings of flashbacks the audience sees into this man’s past and all he lost when the Mongols invaded - his eyes, his instrument, but also the woman that he loved. The woman in question was kidnapped by the Kahn after he stabbed out the musician’s eyes and now, years later, our protagonist is going to play at that man’s feast. The tension in the story is built by the fact that these two long lost lovers have the chance to reunite at this feast, but since the musician cannot see it is unclear if they will recognize each other. We hope that the love they share for each other and the music that the man plays will conquer all and bring these two people together, but the Kahn is a jealous and ruthless man. Ultimately, separation is inevitable, but there is a beautiful sense of hope and connectedness that this film shares with its audience through its beautiful score and its exquisite animation.