Cast: Azadeh Nobahari, Hamed Behdad, Zhila Shahi
Best Film, Best Director, 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival
Best Script, 2019 Fajr National Film Festival
An ex-con named Jalal (Hamed Behdad) wants nothing to do with his estranged young children. They only know of him through the heroic stories crafted by their sickly mother. But her futile attempts to fortify the happiness myth haven’t really fooled anyone.
This facade of family was destined to come crashing down, and that’s exactly what happens after a series of unfortunate events force Jalal to reluctantly take custody of the kids. An impending road trip across the Iranian countryside becomes a reckoning of comeuppance that unfolds during bitter arguments and lengthy episodes of silence. Trapped in the tight confines of their car, Jalal tries and fails to evade the paternal responsibility staring back at him.
Subtly resonant and critical of toxic masculinity, writer/director Reza Mirkarimi’s domestic drama operates without the crutch of context or exposition, instantly forcing the audience to be an active viewer. Through the sparest of narrative parts, it looks at how old wounds never really heal when bitterness remains fresh. Anchored by deeply nuanced performances, Mirkarimi (Today, SDAFF Spring Showcase ‘15) crafts a painful character study in which a deeply flawed man must finally confront the emotional trauma caused by his prolonged absence.
–Glenn Heath Jr.
Co-Presented by Persian Cultural Center