Film

Film

by

Why not hang the ropes themselves?” muses Afghan American artist Haris (Baktash Zaher-Khadem) regarding his latest production, a series of nooses. Death hangs heavy over FireDancer, Jawed Wassel’s first and last film. Shot before 9-11 and the war in Afghanistan, the feature screened for investors on October 6, 2001, its director noticeably absent; the next day, producer Nathan Powell was discovered to have murdered and dismembered Wassel. Grim headlines aside, FireDancer is hard to recommend, with its haphazard tone, wobbly acting, and cipher-like lead—Haris is curiously well-adjusted for someone so ostensibly haunted by his distant homeland. Predictable details of the mating habits of the Afghan American community in Queens alternate with old-country flashbacks, and the quirkier bits (a burst of rap, our hero Bickling with his own reflection) fare as poorly as the more recognizable scenes of cultural friction. Still, Wassel’s concern for his displaced countrymen is palpable, and the film’s abrupt last word—”Love”—has a ghostly resonance.