Kaveh Mazaheri’s film Botox depicts the life of two sisters living their mundane life in Iran until a tragedy destroys their peace. In a country where options to earn a livelihood are scarce, either someone is leaving the country, looking out their way to foreign lands, or involving themselves in business that isn’t legal. The narrative combines both and therefore explores the plight and ironies of its characters.
Botox was awarded for the best feature and best screenplay at the 38th Torino Film Festival.
Three siblings, Azar (sister), Akram (sister), and Emad (brother), live in a small house without the shadow of their parents. Akram is an autistic adult, 11 years older than Azar, and therefore the eldest of the lot. Emad and Azar look after Akram while they deal with their own aspirations.
Azar works in a dermatologist clinic specializing in the treatment of Botox. The injection relaxes the wrinkles and makes a woman look younger. A 30-year-old Emad is unemployed and aspires to learn German and move to Germany to earn dollars in a foreign land. For Azar, supporting a family of three with only one earning hand becomes tiring. She plans to rent her house to an engineer, Saeid, who wants to grow psychedelic mushrooms under their roof. The arrangement seems eerie but perfectly blends with the nature of the film.
During a Masonry work, Emad makes fun of Akram’s autism. In angst, Akram kicks Emad off the roof, thereby injuring him severely. Finding it as an opportunity to get rid of Emad, Azar suffocates him to death. Azar takes over the house and the mushroom deal, but Akram becomes a threat to her schemes.
‘Botox’ Ending Explained
Director Kaveh Mazaheri kept a subtle tone while showcasing the scene of Emad’s death. Neither Akram nor Azar are seen experiencing any kind of remorse. Azar communicated to Akram and other relatives that Emad had left the city. She kept on feeding the information to autistic Akram to believe Azar’s version of the truth. In the meantime, the mushroom engineer, Saeid, constructed a greenhouse in their premise to grow psychedelic mushrooms. Saeid gets enchanted by Azhar and that’s the reason he doesn’t ponder much upon Emad’s sudden disappearance. But Akram subtly kept on revealing pieces of information about Emad’s burial and murder. The revelations threatened Azar’s sanity.
At the end of the film, Akram spotted Emad in a crowded market. However, the hazy scene was designed in a way that invited less realism and more confusion. After a brawl between the sisters, when Akram got up the next morning, she saw psychedelic mushrooms growing in her backyard. The important question was, can mushrooms grow overnight? Well, scientifically, rain and cool weather can trigger the sudden growth of mushrooms.
Thus, the last sequence can be both an imagination or a reality. Hallucination is a normal phenomenon among Autistic patients. If Akram was hallucinating from the beginning, then Emad was still alive. The whole film was a fictionalized narrative that happened inside her head. But suppose she started hallucinating after the death of Emad. In that case, images of Emad and his existence could be deemed as the unrealistic layer.
In my personal opinion, Akram was hallucinating in the end. She wanted her brother to come back and therefore created memory in her mind. It could also be a psychedelic effect of the mushroom or the solution she destroyed the night before in her backyard.
Whatever the reason would be, the symbolization, in the end, imparted that life goes on, no matter what tragedy hits a person’s life. They either re-create happy memories in their minds or their lives, whichever they find easy and approachable.
Botox is a 2021 Drama film directed by Kaveh Mazaheri.