Kupal is one of the Taxidermy animals in his house. One of the thousands that don’t have any uses except to look at them. It does not move, it does not have a reaction to anything and has been created for only one purpose, to be looked at. The pictures on the wall tell the same thing and are only there to be looked at. Big pictures of his eyes or the lower portion of his face. Like the head of deer that we have put up on the wall so that we can take a good look at it. He has been dead for years and he has taxidermied himself for years inside of that giant castle on the out skirt of who knows where, a place where no one stops by to say hello, only coming for a fight. The mise-en-scène says the same thing. In the scene that he is fallen into a dream while battling hunger and thirst. Two dogs are fighting in the background and we see Kupal with deer antlers coming out from behind him.
Kazem Mollaie’s “Kupal” is the story of all these people. People who want to taxidermy others or the situation around then so that they stay the same, preferably in their best moment. Kupal does the same to his wife and child. He wants his wife to be as she was when they first met and does the same to the memory of his lost child. He does not forget his child and adds more things to the child’s room to make it prettier. He has taxidermied his child in that small room. While, Kupal is the one who takes animals lives and turns them into statue and fate takes the life of his child in the exact opposite way. A child that does not want to take the life of any animal but only wants to save the life of the fish that is fallen out of the water but slips and falls into the pool and loses his life. Losing life while saving life, and meanwhile the one who takes lives is still alive.
People and their situation change through time. They don’t stay the same and Kupal cannot take them back to the way they were. He must come back by himself. Something must happen so that he can come back. He must get stuck in the castle he has made. A castle that he wanted to use to intimidate his wife who has left into coming back. But this time the castle works against him and closes its doors on him so that he is forced to face his past and what he has done. And this is where the films tell us why he is alone. He must realize that the bullet he used to kill an animal is the same bullet that hit him and his life and took the lives of him, his wife and child. And what has left is in fact a ruin that has a beautiful façade.
A clergy in the TV says: “you should check on people who are stranger to the area in these days; people who have no one.” And we see Kupal in the first few days of the new year, alone and without friends, fallen on the corner of his castle and is dying. days pass and he get closer to death. His screams go nowhere – the workers are busy fixing the street and their noises covers up his voice, a voice that has not said a loving word in years.
The key is in the mouth of haiku. This where the intelligence of mollaie shines. First, he puts the hunter in the place of the prey. Kupal’s imprisonment in his castle. the door that had issues closes in his face. Now the hunter has fallen into trap and must free himself. The other interesting thing happens at this moment and shows what the film really wants to say. The hunter must put down his weapon and leave the prey alone. He wants to kill Haiku, but all those memories won’t let him. He put downs his weapon and receives his prize for this selfless act from Haiku. Haiku kills himself so that his last loyal act is done for Kupal. And this is how Kupal frees himself. He takes the key and opens the door.
But does Kupal want to go on living without Haiku or not? Kupal goes to the refrigerator, after days of being hungry and thirsty where he had to drink his own urine to survive. He goes to the refrigerator, but does he open it or not? He is hesitant. Opening the fridge and drinking those drinks means giving in to the commercial voices inside the film that wished to drink Coca Cola cold so that he could enjoy it better. It means staying inside the same circle that Kupal was stuck in. all those statues and awards with deceptive appearances that are in fact empty. He must now chose, does he want to still be a taxidermist or not?. And it seems like he has let go of taxidermizing animals and the people around him.