Fireworks Wednesday (Chaharshanbe-soori) Reviews
Fireworks Wednesday (Chahar Shanbeh Souri)
Production year: 2006
Country: Rest of the world
Runtime: 104 mins
Directors: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Hamid Farokh-Nejad, Hamid Farokhnezhad, Hedieh Tehrani, Hediyeh Tehrani, Taraneh Alidoosti, Taraneh Alidousti
It is set in Teheran, during the traditional boisterous New Year celebrations, involving fireworks in the street; Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film was set around this time as well. There are, of course, some emotional explosions. Taraneh Alidoosti (who played the fleeting title role in About Elly) is Roohi, a young woman who is thrilled to be engaged, and keen to save up as much as she can for the wedding. She gets a one-off job from a contract agency to clean a flat, and is highly disconcerted to find it a wreck, covered in dust sheets from an apparently abandoned plan to repaint and littered with broken glass from an unexplained violent row.
Roohi finds herself in the middle of the warring marital partners who live there: Mozhde (Hediyeh Tehrani) and Morteza (Hamid Farokhnezhad). Mozhde is obsessed with the idea that Morteza is cheating on her with the next-door neighbour, beauty-salon owner Simin (Pantea Bahram): she listens at the ventilation duct in her bathroom and at the wall behind the closet, and it is enigmatically unclear if she has actually heard anything incriminating or not. Poor Roohi finds herself inveigled into undercover ruses to spy on Morteza, and also finds herself telling fibs to help him out. Instantly, instinctively, she has entered the world of little secrets and lies that comes with the territory of marriage, and her open, beautiful face becomes clouded with fear and unease as she guesses what might be in store for her in the married future. As with his other films, Farhadi shows an icily cool control in his camerawork, comparable to a Haneke, especially in the gripping street-brawl scene, blankly filmed from an ascending lift. A formidable and technically accomplished drama from Farhadi.
quiet, deft. Iranian cinema rocks.
A theme that occupies Farhadi appears to be the corrosive underbelly of Persian culture, and its stifling traditional values. This story takes place on Chaharshanbe Suri (the Persian New Year) and all throughout the film, you hear fireworks in the distance. Near the end of the film, there's this great sequence where two characters are driving in the car, and through the windows you see a succession of fireworks, and fire in the streets. After dwelling on these details for a minute or two, the metaphorical meaning seeps in -- these relationships are just as combustible. It's a subtle detail, but very powerful -- and, for me, that's a great way to describe Farhadi's style: subtle, but powerful.