In 1989 in Tehran, a movie mad unemployed printer named Ali Sabzian was arrested for impersonating the famous film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The family he had fooled was deep in rehearsals for his next “film” when they alerted authorities of their suspicions. “I loved playing that part,” confesses Sabzian in his trial. When the judge asks the Ahankah family if they will drop the charges in light of Sabzian’s apologies and explanations, one of the sons replies “I get the impression he’s still playing a role.” Continue reading
The film recounts the story of a young couple on their way to Melbourne to continue their studies. However, just a few hours before the departure of their flight, they are unintentionally involved in a tragic event.
This remarkable debut feature by Nima Javidi naturally reminds one of Asghar Farhadi’s films, with its strong sense of drama, tremendous actor interpretations and mature writing that does not compromise the integrity of any of the characters. But there is also something particularly “new generational” about it in the way it harnesses the choice in front of affluent young Tehranians: to stay in Iran and own up its problems or to leave the country to start life anew. The inciting event in the film that dramatizes this choice stops the train of life dead in its tracks, exposing its protagonists to the unbearable “nowness” of the present. It is a terribly universal predicament in which time freezes around the material reality before you and all plans for the future and memories of the past seem like a remote, inaccessible country, a crisis that makes you want to either regress in time (“wish mother were here”) or to jump to a future day when the clouds have cleared, a moment where husband and wife see each other’s innermost character in all its stark nakedness. Though the couple might physically arrive at the eponymous neverland, the utopia it once represented is irrevocably lost. – The Seventh Art Continue reading
Majid makes an 8-mm film with some poorly-lit sequences. To repeat the shots, Majid needs highly sensitive negatives and, therefore, some money. He comes up with the money by working as a coolie, but before buying the negative, a relative asks him to do something and Majid loses his money his money while doing it because of his shyness. Continue reading
A taxi driver takes a young woman at a small Iranian hospital. As long as he gets there he realizes that he must take crucial decisions that may change his life.
Too few risks have been taken in Iranian mainstream cinema to depict the oppression of Iranian women but Reza Mirkarimi’s film Emrooz (Today, 2014) subtly chronicles a day in the life of a pregnant single mother named Sedighe who desperately looks for support from a taxi driver named Younes. The film’s portrayal of the pregnant woman can be seen as evidence of the lack of social support for single mothers in Iran and how Iranian women have no legal right to defend their motherhood without the support of a child’s father. Continue reading
In a small valley, riders pursue and kill a man. A horse thief, so his assassins claim. But for his ten year old son Issa, the disappearance of his father causes an avalanche of problems. With the family name stigmatized, Issa is bullied by the other children in the village. While his mother fights to clear her husbands name, Issa is left to his own devices. But unexpectedly, his solitude gives birth to his freedom, his real passion, horses. Continue reading
A school window is broken, and kids can’t concentrate because the rain is getting in. The culprit isn’t allowed back into class until he mends it. So he carries a large pane of glass by hand across the countryside in a gale. The wind blows; but will he crack? In the hands of writer Abbas Kiarostami and director Mohammad Ali Talebi, this simplest of stories becomes an epic quest, poetic and breathtakingly beautiful. It has big-hearted humanism, but Hitchcockian tension too. An edge-of-seat masterpiece. Unmissable. Continue reading
Jafar Panahi is banned from making movies by the Iranian government, he poses as a taxi driver and makes a movie about social challenges in Iran. (IMDb) Continue reading