Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

"Javidi's conclusion is as smartly worked and surprising as his set up, marking a debut full of promise for better things to come."

Nima Javidi follows in the footsteps of fellow countryman Asghar Farhadi as he becomes the latest Iranian director to explore a domestic moral dilemma with universal resonance. He carefully builds the tension in his chamber piece setting - an apartment in Tehran, where husband and wife Amri (A Separation star Peyman Moaadi) and Sara (Negar Javaherian) are preparing to emigrate to Australia. Navidi is economical, using a nifty credit sequence montage of clothes being vacuum packed to help us get the message about the move before having a census taker establish the couple's relationship and suggest a watchful State - crucial in making their later decisions regarding the authorities plausible.

To divulge much about the set-up of the film - even though it happens within the first 20 minutes - would be to spoil much of the early surprise for an audience who are likely to be wrong-footed by the event which brings the couple's excitement as they pack amid visitors who come and go to a terrifying halt. I could say more about what happens but, as with many moral quandry films, it is what happens afterwards that holds the interest.

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The couple are essentially faced with the stark choice of 'doing the right thing' in ethical terms and risking their future or doing the right thing for themselves. Javidi makes clever use of the notions of the flat as a trap, building the claustrophobia of the couple as they run the gamut of emotions from anger through to despair and back again. The apartment also serves as a good set-up for a series of visitors that the pair must endeavour to keep their secret from, gradually revealing more details about them.

While Navidi's characters don't quite have the nuance of Farhadi's more finely worked psychologies and the couple's plight feels protracted as their arguments become cyclical, he and his actors do a good job of putting us in the couple's shoes. His conclusion is as smartly worked and surprising as his set up, marking a debut full of promise for better things to come.

Reviewed on: 15 Jun 2015
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A young couple on the verge of emigration find their lives rocked by tragedy.

Director: Nima Javidi

Writer: Nima Javidi

Starring: Roshanak Gerami, Mani Haghighi, Negar Javaherian, Vida Javan, Elham Korda, Peyman Moaadi, Alireza Ostadi, Shirin Yazdanbakhsh

Year: 2014

Runtime: 91 minutes

Country: Iran


EIFF 2015

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