Hidden by Farzad Ostovarzadeh

After the death of his half-brother, a young boy struggles with his guilt and new position in the family.

12-year-old Parham has lost his younger half-brother. In the aftermath of guilt and grief, he must come to terms with his complicated emotions as well as his new role in the family.

Director Farzad Ostovarzadeh has crafted a beautifully observed drama, anchored by an impressive performance by its young protagonist, who delineates the shadings of anger, sadness, guilt and sorrow that young Parham experiences through the course of its story.

The visuals of the film are elegant, restrained and poetic, characterized by a skilled use of Steadicam, which floats through scenes of long, often quiet takes. The effect is haunted and ghostlike, making us feel the aches within and between the characters and capturing the heavy emotional burden that Parham has taken it upon himself to carry. Daniel Zolghadri, the young actor, who plays him give a remarkably nuanced performance that is both restrained and full of heartache, and it is impossible not to feel a sense of empathy for him as a result.

Watching Parham grapple with what death really means at such a young age pays off with a understated but intensely resonant climax that will quietly punch viewers in the gut.

“Hidden” tackles weighty subjects like death, guilt and mortality, but the film’s painstaking craft and sensitive storytelling keep the short from collapsing under its own weight. Rich with emotional insight, it examines what it means to confront one of the fundamental truths of existence: that it is limited, and often means leaving someone behind.

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