Jailed for harvesting trees to support his family, Salar is replaced as breadwinner by his young son Jalal while Jalal’s sister strains to defend her husband, a policeman, from the fury of her mother (Gohar Kheirandish) after he is forced to transport his father-in-law to prison.
Director Khosro Masoumi undergirds his analysis of encroaching economic despair with emotional range and power. --Cinema Without Borders
Cast: Hossein Mahjoob, Gohar Kheirandish, Hurie Mirmohammadi, Arman Nikzad, Mehran Rajabi
Festival And Awards:
Shanghai (Best Film), Copenhagen, Cannes, Moscow, Denver, Fajr
Tradition of Lover Killing (Iran)
(Screenings at the Seventh Shanghai International Film Festival SIFF...)
Also titled "Lover Killing Tradition" in English, this new film by Iranian director Khosro Masumi received the top prize at the festival. Meryl Streep flew into town to hand over the award. The press here made a big deal over Streep's comment that she "likes" Chinese films. Fascinating!
I'm having a tough time finding a good online source for Iranian films, but here's a start: fajrfilmfest.com. Actors' names are inconsistently listed around the web, but one of the lead actors, (perhaps) Hossein Abedini, in Tradition of Lover Killing was also in Baran, which did well in the international festival circuit, and received an Oscar nod.
Tradition of Lover Killing has some superb shots of snowy landscapes, and it's worth viewing for this alone. It's been referred to as a "low budget" film -- by what reference point? -- and if this is the case, Euro/American low budget films have a thing to learn from the quality of the lens work here. If only SIFF's Hengshan Theater projectionist knew how to focus...argh.
Like so many Iranian films that play the festival/art house circuit, the characters work desperately hard, make sacrifices, to save their family or (desired) lover, but we know all along that it will end in tragedy. In Tradition of Lover Killing, the final end, however, is an intriguing moment of magical realism.
I confess that I walked out thinking "can't we have a happy ending for a change?" I try not to make simple-minded comparisons to "other Iranian movies" but I felt like I was watching the same theme I'd seen in the last 20 Iranian films I've seen.
One capsule review called this film a "prison drama" but this is really not the case. Prison plays a small part. It's really about desperation, hope, love, and snowy landscapes. (Written by Michael Ohlsson)