Set against the vibrant backdrop of urban Shiraz, an affable but desperate prisoner is almost undone by a ‘selfless’ gesture that goes viral.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
|Nov 18|| |
|Nov 21|| |
“Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won all sorts of plaudits a decade ago (including the Foreign Language Oscar) for his Tehran-set divorce drama A Separation [NZIFF 2011]. This is a similarly clear-eyed, precise and thrilling work that begins with an endearing but also slightly unreadable man, Ramin (Amir Jadidi) leaving prison on temporary leave. Ramin is serving a sentence for financial crimes after going bankrupt and failing to pay back a loan to his former father-in-law, Braham (Mohsen Tanabandeh). Now back in the city of Shiraz for a few days, Ramin has a chance to pay back some of that money, get his life back on track and regain some of his dignity...
Ramin’s plan is fragile. It revolves around selling 17 gold coins found abandoned in a handbag... Disappointed by a fall in the price of gold, Ramin instead decides that celebrity is the way to regain the respect he so sorely needs... Ramin engineers a hero status for himself, declaring that he’s found this treasure and putting up posters everywhere looking for its rightful owner. Soon, he’s on TV, being championed as selfless...
So much here rides on pride and dignity: the appearance of respectability is all. Status is key. Perhaps that’s why Ramin digs a grave for himself into which we see him slipping deeper... It’s tense and thought-provoking throughout. Especially smart is the mist of ambiguity around Ramin’s character that Farhadi never allows fully to clear... It’s a superb morality play that immerses us deeply in a society’s values and rituals and keeps us guessing right to its powerful final shot.” —Dave Calhoun, Time Out