Insight into WCFF Iranian Shorts
by Cheryl Dandridge
Eli is well-cast. The film shows relatively tolerant parents and avoids the extremes of abuse that an outside audience is conditioned to expect from anything Iranian, but at the same time it delineates clearly the prison in which Eli lives, with the question of a solution totally up in the air, given the family’s finances, expectations, social mores of Eli doing work reserved for a male, marriage question etc. I like the ending taking us full circle to focus on a consciousness that few of us comprehend very well, a consciousness that Eli was born with.
Intense. While the topic has been covered many times, the nuances of the writing in this make it a rich insight into a society living lies upon lies. Some of the subtitles don’t stay up long enough to read and absorb. So many Americans are not familiar with extended families and their dynamics, so they might have trouble following all the relationships and issues without a Q&A after show, or some kind of help. There are several betrayals going on, and it develops that the victim is facing a possible honour violence. The groom Iman is a complex character, refusing to get the virginity certificate before marriage and in being ‘modern’ in trusting his bride, then implacably turning against her, the double standard his sister exhibits in propping him up and in in practically managing her family, the victim’s supportive family only serve to bring out the human dimension to this mess, and it’s seeming intractability as the ‘brother’ it seems must restore ‘honour’ as required by society.
THE GUY CAME ON HORSEBACK
by hossein rabiei dastjerdi
Beautiful film. Nice use of the cockerel to express the sexual subtext, and the opening shot of the father washing his son is so tactile and tender, says everything. The reason for the bitterness of the mother must only be guessed at: how did he get crippled, they will be left without a son to look after them in old age…?
The grown woman next door is imprisoned by her younger brother and her father’s expectations, the young man by his body. The lead actor’s casting is good, his face tells so much of the story, which is a sad one, the little drawing of them at the end being trampled into dust the perfect shot in a tale that uses many poetic, nonverbal story elements, especially his turned back and the glass of milk, the curtains, at his visit to the older, brazen woman, as sweet first love gives way to reality.
Subtitling needs work, especially confusing where the subtitles show the girl’s father threatening to maim the young man’s ‘leg just like your hand’ when it should be reversed, the irate father would maim the young man’s hand just like his legs, a terrifying prospect.