REZA

Directed by Alireza Motamedi

Cast: Alireza Motamedi, Sahar Dolatshahi, Setareh Pesiani

Official Selection, 2018 São Paulo International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2018 Mumbai International Film Festival

Alireza Motamedi directs and stars in this refreshing city drama enlivened by delightful post-marital flânerie, artful asides, and a rom-com heart. Motamedi plays Reza, the titular anti-hero, a lumbering writer who refuses to get out of bed because it’s the day to file for divorce. In the waiting room for their conjugal end, Reza and his wife chat like they are flirting on a first date. The electricity has not sizzled. So when he’s reminded that they have three months and ten days to change their minds, Reza takes a probationary approach to divorce, testing the waters of bachelorhood while asking himself if, after nine years of marriage, things are indeed over.

Motamedi punctuates these wistful flirtations with passages from the story Reza is working on, an epic piece of poetic Persian prose that summons the heroic grandeur of legacy that contrasts with the cowardice of his marital limbo. Such juxtapositions make for not a sweeping romance or a satirical comedy, but something charmingly in between: a brisk walk through emotional paralysis, where maddening confusion is framed by warm picturesque cinematography of immaculate balance and composition.  –Brian Hu

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