Tales (2014)

RAKHSHAN BANI-ETEMAD

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Original title:  Ghesse-ha

Iran, 2014.  Screenplay by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Scenes from life in Tehran flow randomly from person to person in this seemingly effortless film. A taxi driver who picks up a prostitute he recognizes as a woman from childhood, an elderly woman who leads her colleagues in a protest against the closing of the factory that provided their livelihood, a centre that administers assistance to drug addicts, an unemployed husband who suspects his wife of infidelity, and more situations than this play out in a loose, free-flowing style that is brought vividly to life by a cast of terrific actors. Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s direction finds the dramatic heart of each scene and keeps the energy buoyant throughout, a captivating experiment in narrative that is highly watchable despite the downbeat themes that are frequently touched upon. The screenplay intelligently reveals many of the problems that are the fuel to the fire of social issues (illiteracy, religious hypocrisy, etc), and thanks to the fantastic acting it often feels like breaking on real lives and real situations. The only drawback, and it’s not a minor one, is that the scenes when combined feel more like great moments stolen from other movies instead of parts of a cohesive mosaic whole.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2014

Venice Film Festival Award:  Best Screenplay

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