by Saman Sadeghimehr
The Capabilities of the Art of Makeup in Wishbone directed by Ali Atshani
Undoubtedly, the modern art of makeup and everything related to this profession can be an extraordinary experience both for the audience and actors. Basic and relevant makeup is the key to creating imaginary characters as well as characters that are very close to reality.
The cinema was born in Iran more than a century ago and there are many examples of good, creative and memorable makeups in its history. The admirable makeup of Akbar Abdi in Mother, a masterpiece made by the late Ali Hatami in 1991 which surprised everyone, the unique makeup of Golab Adineh in Blue Scarf and When Everybody Was Asleep and many other examples which accurately indicate that Iranian makeup artists can be placed among the best makeup artists in the world.
In this article, we will review the footprint of one of these creative makeup artists who could create one of the best makeups ever in the history of Iranian Cinema with her own talent and art.
This film was directed by Ali Atshani and is based on the life of a famous and controversial football coach and former player in the Iranian Premier League and was screened at the 35th Fajr Film Festival (FFF). It has participated in different international film festivals in the United States, Canada, England, India, etc and has won various awards including Best Film and Best Director. Mitra Hajjar also won the award for Best Actress at the San Francisco International Film Festival and Mazyar Fallahi won the award for Best Actor at the Wind International Film Festival in the United States for their roles in this film.
Hossein Yari, Mitra Hajjar, Mahchehreh Khalili, Maziar Fallahi and Azadeh Mahdizadeh starred in Wishbone. The story is about Damoon, a famous football coach who has recently been fired. He sees his old love again after many years and inadvertently lets her in his privacy. This evil entry destroys his marital life to the point where crime and murder put an end to this true story.
Unfortunately, the film didn’t have any opportunities to show its impressive capabilities both in terms of content and form and technique due to limited and inappropriate release during COVID-19 pandemic, but we intend to introduce one of its brilliant capacities to you, namely the art of makeup.
Hossein Yari played the role of a frustrated football coach in this film and the makeup applied by Faezeh Mousavi (the makeup designer) was outstanding. When the actor stood in front of the mirror to watch himself, he definitely considered himself as a famous athlete far from the colorful world of acting in the Seventh Art more than ever. According to the idea of the designer, asymmetrical curly brown hair with curves could indicate instability in the character of Damoon Shams and it was one of the most important features of the art of makeup in creating this character and defining his thoughts and manners. The audience actually believed him as a football coach with that makeup in the fantasy and fictional world of cinema and everyone behind the scenes had the same perception during filming.
According to witnesses, Hossein Yari’s makeup in addition to the basic works on his hair and beard including the skin of his face, the wrinkles and pimples, making the skin look rough and somehow old and also the teeth and other parts of his body in the critical moment when his pregnant wife was murdered was so tedious and took some hours. It is a scientific and admirable makeup that practically provides the ground for modern techniques in makeup design based on a dramatic analysis of characters.
This quality was welcomed by cinema fans, especially critics and the media in 2015. They not only considered it as an important potential in the Cinema of Iran but also an important technical achievement in Wishbone.
The assessment of personalities and dramatic analysis of all the characters in this film during designing and applying makeups were so skillful that whether there was cruelty or kindness and even balance or forgiveness on actors’ faces such as Mahchehreh Khalili’s character, all of them could be perceived even without listening to the dialogues or the art of mise en scene.
Hossein Yari as Damoon Shams and Mitra Hajjar as Tiara had to sit still in the makeup room at least for 5 hours every time in order to look similar to the inner spirits as well as the outer image close to the characters in the story and the script. According to some sources, although they had signed the contract willingly and without hesitation, but when they had to endure a huge amount of makeup and change, they lost their patience at dawn.
It is noteworthy that makeup ideas and designs in Wishbone made by Ali Atshani were so effective and successful that drew the admiration of some members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in different countries and also international film festivals.
This project was another film adaptation of a real and sad novel that happened in the real life of one of the most famous figures of professional sports in Iran. It is certain that the great makeup applied on Hossein Yari as a famous football coach and former player together with a popular story made this film more acceptable and credible than other versions.
As we mentioned earlier, Hossein Yari (the leading actor who played the role of Damoon Shams) and Mitra Hajjar had to sit down on makeup chair for 5 hours every day. To achieve the desired result, the makeup artist had to be so accurate about the theoretical and practical patterns that she displayed all the dimensions of the mystery or complexity in the nature of these characters.
It is remarkable that the main actors cooperated with Faezeh Sadat Mousavi (the smart makeup artist) during makeup in order to be as close as possible to the desired faces of their roles. New materials were also used for the best result.
All these items attracted critics’ attention in terms of the art of makeup, idea design, and the way it was applied on actors.
According to witnesses, Faezeh Mousavi spent months researching about the real characters of the horrific event that took place in the personal life of the football coach before starting makeup and spent hours studying the habits and behaviors of real characters as well as the way they spoke in their own private lives and criminal trials. Thousands of newspapers and articles published about that event is a legacy of such a research that she archived them all.
We should not forget that makeup of this film was so good, professional and regular and the actors could easily say their dialogues in spite of heavy makeups.
Since the amount of makeup was so huge and very time-consuming, the makeup artist couldn’t do it alone so she had to ask a large number of Iranian makeup artists to collaborate with her. In 2015, other projects encountered delays because of this situation.
The makeup artist’s skill in Ali Atshani’s Wishbone was so excellent that when the film was released theatrically, the audience could hardly recognize that Damoon Shams was Hossein Yari, the actor of series Black Intelligence and Dear Brother who had normal makeup and usual short black hair.
It should be noted that on the first days of makeup, Hossein Yari, the main actor of the project was so worried about the huge amount of makeup and changes, especially fake beard and braided hair that he told Faezeh Mousavi if the result of makeup wouldn’t seem desirable, effective, and believable in the first stages, she should ignore the idea, but the result eventually was so successful that the people who saw the film did not believe Hossein Yari had played that role.
According to production crew, Faezeh Sadat Mousavi, the motivated and creative makeup artist of this film, spent 3 to 5 hours every day just to apply makeup on Damoon Shams. Anyone who saw Wishbone (a running time of 90 minutes) has surely been impressed by makeup and the change on Hossein Yari’s face.
With the least amount of knowledge and information in the field of cinema, everyone can understand that the proper coordination of head and face movements should be in direct contact with the extra hair, fake beard, and normal movements of actors’ wrinkles and they all take a lot of time to be done but makeup team could handle them very well. The hard-working makeup team had to start at 5 in the morning and the process lasted for 5 to 6 hours every day.
In conclusion, Wishbone is a standard film with a high passing mark which originates from all parts of the film. The script has clearly a tense three-act structure that works well in terms of rhythm in general. Cinematography and set design are very good and stand at an acceptable level in the Cinema of Iran. The acts are mostly admirable and the art of makeup is full of creativity and innovation which certainly shows the presence of a thoughtful and promising makeup designer in the Iranian Cinema.