Memorably portrayed by Elnaz Shakerdoost, the TV actress
who transitioned to movies with the edge-of-seat Al-Qaeda drama When the Moon Was Full, TiTiis a young Roma Gypsy woman who rounds out her earnings as a hospital
cleaner by carrying other people’s babies.
Along with the usual clashes between put-down women and entitled males, the film looks at various
moral questions from a different viewpoint. TiTi’s pain in giving up the baby she’s carrying
for a childless couple, for example, runs into a law that says she can go to prison for not honoring her
part of the bargain. As the doctor examining TiTi puts it — one hopes ironically — when the woman who
will soon claim the baby bursts into the room, “the owner is
here.” And later, TiTi is reminded that “not a cell of that baby
belongs to you.”
The film’s theme is the role selflessness plays in a person’s life — caring about other people and
humanity at large versus one's own little orchard. Her honest desire to be of service to others is the
reason TiTi carries
other couples’ children to term. The money is incidental; it will help buy cinder blocks to complete the
house she is building for her dashing musician-fiancé Amir-Sassan (Houtan Shakiba).
In the hospital, she meets the critically ill Ibrahim Sajedi (Parsa Pirouzfar), a professor of physics who is on the verge of a great discovery regarding black holes, when
his tumor returns. When the good-looking prof explains black holes to wide-eyed,
uneducated TiTi, her
takeaway is that the end of the world is coming and his work could save humankind. She makes a
decision to save his life.
Eight months pregnant, she plunges into the icy sea and spends a night standing in water up to her
neck; it’s a magic spell that allows the prof to miraculously recover. Unfortunately, while he was in a
coma, his divorced wife carelessly instructed TiTi to throw the papers containing his scientific discoveries away. Instead she
takes them home, where Amir-Sassan uses them to line his rabbit cages. The rest
of the film unfolds against Ibrahim’s frustrated attempts to chase down his physics
formulas, during which he learns a lot more about Titi’s life, and she is enlightened about his true
Though much of this material sounds comic, everything is played as straight drama.
Ibrahim’s missing papers turn out to be a MacGuffin that force him, TiTi and Amir-
Sassan to make tough moral choices and show their true colors. Shakerdoost uses the innocence in her big eyes
to construct a magical character (she has telekinetic powers to move a glass across the table, among
other tricks) and holds the audience in thrall while she keeps surprising us with her sensitivity to others.
Shakiba’s macho man Amir-
Sassan also reveals unexpected sides of an alcoholic, abusive, exploitative man in love. Only
Pirouzfaris left out of the party, recycling the dignified, narrow-minded bourgeois hero of Iranian
cinema with a touch of mad scientist thrown in.
which she wrote with her usual co-writer and editor Arsalan Amiri, has most to say
when TiTi is on
screen, like a noisy wedding scene where a Roma band is playing and women are dancing joyfully. The
plain shooting style adds little to the story.