Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. Iran, 1977. Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami. Cinematography by Ali Reza Zarrindast. Produced by Bahman Farmanara. Production Design by Ahmad Mirshekan. Film Editing by Mahtalat Mirfenderski.
Abbas Kiarostami looks at a disintegrating marriage between a civil servant who works for the tax department and his frustrated housewife (future Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo). The husband goes to work and engages in heated debates with his friends about their work and politics, but nothing has the same impact on him as the arguing and fighting in his domestic sphere, the couple’s altercations reaching violent levels despite the presence of their beloved toddler. The pace is sluggish and the film is often quite boring, but it’s so intelligent and well acted that you somehow cannot deny that it is also really good. Kiarostami had not yet developed the more captivating, poetic quality that would make films like Close-Up and Certified Copy so much more artistically accomplished, but it is still remarkable how well made this is. Made just before Iran’s cultural revolution (which would prompt Aghdashloo’s leaving the country for America not long after), the original negative was destroyed and only exists in a poorly copied print.