A woman fights with her husband over abuse and his job. A clergyman has his wallet stolen and deals with the thief as well as his marriage clients. An older couple fears a TV repairman may be a potential intruder. These three stories, related only by the slenderest of narrative threads, make up this light-hearted and quite entertaining film set around the city of Tehran. They’re so tenuously connected, in fact, that this is basically a collection of three short films, handed off merely by a character in the next section appearing in the same location as a character from the one just ending.
In the first section, a woman leaves her apartment in a huff, leaving her husband behind to chase her – soon it becomes clear that he has hit her and she’s running home to her parents after six months of marriage. But there’s more to her anger, including her frustration that he’s working as a TV quiz show host instead of continuing to be a serious journalist. Meanwhile, he’s concerned about being able to provide for his family and stay out of trouble (the newspaper he used to work for had been suppressed by the government). It’s a good dramatic setup, but the film goes funny with it, and does a good job of it, giving the husband a hilarious, rapidly-delivered speech about men not hitting women being a recent historical development and how he needs more time to adjust. Best line: “I know I need cultural reform!”
The second section picks up an Islamic clergyman who discovers his money, phone, and documents were stolen on the subway. He calls his phone and ends up discussing things with the thief, trying to get his property back from the rather impudent thief. Meanwhile, his office is filled with a quarreling family who apparently hangs out in his office every day and a couple who want to get married, but he’s afraid the young man only wants to marry the older woman for her money. This section is funny, veering a bit more to the absurd than the first.
The third gets even a bit more absurd, as an older couple, suspicious of the unknown, lock themselves in their apartment against a TV repairman; the woman is convinced he’s actually a robber trying to trick them, while the husband is too far gone into senility to argue with her. To add another wrinkle, the repairman has his infant daughter with him, since his wife recently left them. This section probably goes on the longest (it feels as though it does, anyway), and is a bit uneven, but does have a great bittersweet feel to it, lent by the husband trying to do the right thing and often coming up with something utterly inappropriate, like pulling down his father’s antique gun to threaten the repairman.
The very end of the film calls back to the previous stories a bit (showing the TV host on the old couple’s television, cutting to the clergyman on the phone), but each is basically self-contained. They all also end a bit before they feel fully resolved, which I actually liked, since they plant the seeds for resolution, allowing you to finish it out yourself in your head. It’s quite funny despite hitting on some very serious questions and problems, which is often the best way to approach such things. It might’ve been a stronger film overall if it had connected the stories a little tighter together, weaving them in and out of each other, but I still quite enjoyed them all, thanks to a nimble script and able performances all around.
Director: Mohsen Abdolvahab
Screenplay: Mohsen Abdolvahab
Producers: Mohammad Ahmadi
Starring: Baran Kosari, Afshin Hashemi, Hedyat Hashemi, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh, Mohsen Kazemi, Hamed Behdad
Running Time: 80 min
US Theatrical Release Date: no US distribution