Reza Mirkarimi – Emrouz AKA Today (2014)


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

Rafi Pitts – Sanam (2000)


Plot Summary:
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

Mohammad-Ali Talebi – Beed-o baad AKA Willow and Wind (1999)


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

Safi Yazdanian – Dar donya ye to saat chand ast? AKA What’s the Time in Your World? (2014)


On a sudden whim Goli decides to return to Iran after 20 years of living in France. She lands in Rasht, her home town, located in the north of the country. Farhad, a frame maker by trade, comes to welcome her. He seems to know her well, but the young woman has absolutely no recollection of him.

Director’s statement: I wanted to make a love story slightly different from those we are used to seeing. Farhad, the main character, is a man in love who demands nothing of that love to whom he has devoted all his life and who, like a sort of guardian angel, is content just to follow his beloved Goli’s life from afar.

The film considers what both parties bring to this love equation and reflects on what they gain and what they lose. To what extent can one maintain a sense of belonging when one lives outside one’s homeland and how does a revered image of home correspond to a concrete reality? What is more desirable, a world of one’s imaginings, the world as it is, or a mixture of the two? Continue reading

Asghar Farhadi – Darbareye Elly AKA About Elly (2009)


About Elly, Iranian director Asgher Farhadi’s fourth feature, is a tightly-knit, intense drama about a sunny story gone tragic. Winner of the Best Director award at the Berlinale this year, the film has two distinct moods: light-hearted and good-humoured for the first 45 minutes, sombre and tense for the rest.

Three young couples, a handful of children, Elly (the nursery school teacher of one of the kids) and Ahmad (a young friend returned from Germany following an unhappy marriage and a divorce from his German wife and vacationing in Iran for ten days) take a holiday on the Caspian Sea. They are carefree, raucous, determined to live it up. But one of the women – Sepideh – has a hidden agenda, an inoffensive one on the face of it: she wants to bring pretty Elly and Ahmad together. Continue reading