Opens: March 9
Duration: 125 minutes
Asghar Farhadi, who became the first Iranian to direct an Oscar-winning film with 2011’s A Separation, has two major things going for him. The first is a sure grip on the creation of powerful drama from simple, everyday elements. The second is a fluid directorial style featuring freewheeling camerawork and actor movements and relatively brisk editing that marks an energetic contrast to the more still, contemplative styles of some of his predecessors.
It’s not that his filmmaking is necessarily better than that of older Iranian filmmakers like Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf but that its marked differences in style bring an undeniable freshness.
His latest film begins explosively, with a young couple and their neighbours hurriedly escaping from their violently shaking apartment block after what initially appears to be an earthquake but later proves to be the work of reckless construction diggers.
Despite the danger and general pandemonium, schoolteacher Emad (Shahab Hosseini) stays behind, despite the danger, to help a sick neighbour escape, thus apparently demonstrating his moral character. But that character is tested more severely when he and his wife Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) discover their temporary new flat was previously occupied by a “promiscuous” woman – which appears...