Mani Haghighi's latest film, Men at Work, is one of the most accessible foreign films, let alone Iranian films, I've seen in a long time. Its simple story is of four middle-aged men on their way home from a ski trip who make a pit stop alongside the mountain road and obsess about a large phallic rock jutting out from the edge of a cliff. They decide that they can not leave the site until they've succeeded in knocking the thing over, and make every attempt to push it, ram it, pull it, dig it out and leverage it. Others drive by, turn around and offer assistance or make attempts of their own. The four men just keep on trying through the night.
Although steeped in allegory, political or otherwise, the film is perfectly enjoyable, and quite hilarious, in its literal sense. Its enigmatic comedy is akin to something out of Monty Python, and its most basic elements align it with Looney Tunes, and yet despite its absurdity Men at Work feels completely real and reasonable. Shot digitally, it has the impression of a home movie, as if the camera is a fifth friend who merely observes and records the endeavor.