Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Showing at the Toronto Film Festival: Heiran, directed by Shalizeh Arefpour

Synopsis from the TIFF website:

Teen lust takes on a wholly different meaning when it surfaces in the wrong country. In Iran, high-school student Mahi (Baran Kosari) and illegal Afghan worker Heiran (Mehrdad Sedighian) risk Romeo and Juliet status when her horrified family refuses to bless their spontaneous union. Supported by an affectionate grandfather (theatre veteran Khosro Shakibaei, in a memorable last performance) who spends the afternoons chatting to his deceased wife, Mahi follows Heiran to unforgiving Tehran. There she is suddenly thrust into a grim adulthood, and it takes more resolve than she ever imagined just to keep loving the man who turned her life on end. Struggling to make ends meet, Heiran gives up his dreams of university and asks for a refund on his student fees to provide a down payment on their shabby flat. Soon the couple has a baby to cope with, too, and Heiran must take responsibility for his family.

In a world where ethics have taken a back seat, this Persian tale of woe is quite re-freshing. Who would think virginal flirtations would stir such deep emotion when promiscuity barely even registers anymore in modern life? In Shalizeh Arefpour's debut feature, a flower exchanged is practically a marriage vow, with fathers brooding and mothers upbraiding their offspring over the merest hint of romantic entanglement. In the Iranian countryside, a universe of autumnal fields and still waters, love ought to be the gateway to heaven. Instead, it's the doorway to new dangers.

In the end, Mahi suddenly awakens to the harsh fact that love alone cannot conquer all. Faced with the cruelty and bitterness of reality and with fewer choices now in her grasp, Mahi bravely fights her final battle before retreating to memories of the past, where flowers were always in bloom and bicycle rides could last forever, just like love.

No comments:

Post a Comment