Directed by Jim Savio | Review by Moumita DebTabiib powerfully captures the anguish of a doctor who reflects on the horrifying and nightmarish images of the war-torn city. The images haunt him day in and day out and cloud his mind with disturbing thoughts. The untimely loss of his wife and son leaves a deep scar in his mind which he finds difficult to overcome. Yet, he must continue his life – with the thoughts or without them.
As he takes a walk down the street, the terrifying suffering of dying children, bloodshed, ceaseless bombings of allied forces and executed bodies lead him more and more into an endless abyss of despair. There isn’t a single moment to relax & both the physical and mental traps are on every corner. There may be no mines to blow his body away, but there is constant sorrow.
So how does a human being deal with this?
First, Tabiib allows viewers insight into the horrifying inner world of jihadist militant extremists. The devastating captures of executions and injured people lying helplessly in the street. At the same time brilliantly captured & disturbing footage showing children’s bodies being pulled from the rubble, adds to the uniqueness of the film. It creates shock, but also a moment to think. It illustrates the severity of the threat of the Islamic State and the grueling reality its inhabitants face. The sad spectacle the protagonist witnesses slowly turns into a graveyard as he visualizes its inhabitants entrapped in a never-ending sleep; this sleep is symbolic and well delineated through powerfully convincing imagery. The protagonist is a lone crusader of the endless conflicting thoughts that flock his mind. He’s on a crusade where it’s no longer clear who or what he’s trying to save; the world or himself?
The music enhances and adds meaning to the underlying tone of sadness and gradual loss of hope. It’s revived by a strong faith in the power of love as the greatest healer of bitter memories. So although there are constant traps, there’s also the light at the end of the tunnel; the hope in better tomorrow. And where is that hope found? Ironically, in the same place where the danger of destroying that hope is located – humanity. Humans are both the destroyers & creators of hope – both a devil & an angel.
Tabiib experiments with an unconventional theme with its gripping storyline and powerful play of emotions. It focuses on the psychology of a doctor willing to face the challenges but reluctant to leave the dying city where his roots lie. The doctor is in the quest of the perfect world of peace and happiness that exists only in his dream. He is trying to find the essence of human existence in the world of merciless killing that goes on in the name of religion.
Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking.