About Elly

June 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Posted in 2015 | 2 Comments
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This film starts with a simple image: we watch the opening credits from the inside of a mail box on a busy street, watching envelopes slip into the small crack of light in this otherwise dark space. It’s a an evocative image that takes a moment to understand and seems to cast the banal in a slightly menacing light. With that, the tone is set for this clever film from Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation” and “The Past”). Originally released in Iran in 2009, it was re-released after “A Separation” one an Oscar three years ago. In it, three married couples go to the beach for a vacation. They bring along their small children and two single friends, whom they hope to set up with each other. But their initial revelry goes terribly wrong and things start to unravel. This film appears to be a standard mystery on the surface but, true to Farhadi’s other films, it is ultimately about the state of male and female relationships in modern Iran. It’s impossible to imagine how this story would read to an Iranian audience, but it serves as a fascinating glimpse into a world of values and priorities very unusual to Western sensibilities. How and why men and women make decisions is at the heart of this film’s tension; the central lie of the story would not have occurred in America, which makes it’s implications and fall out that much more fascinating to watch. The story is a bit slow to start while characters are established and the scene is set. However, once it get’s going, it is gripping until the end. In fact, the tension shifts suddenly in one of the best scenes I have seen on screen in a while. It starts with a loud bang, like a gunshot, that startles one of the women, only to be revealed to be a volleyball accidentally hitting the house. This misdirect sets the stage for a harrowing ocean scene that seems to last forever.  Just as it appears to be over and the audience (and characters) are catching our breaths, the real misdirect is brilliantly revealed and we’re off again. I cannot remember the last time I have seen a more effective use of building a roller coaster of tension; the whole scene was truly brilliant film making. It, like the rest of the film, suggests Farhadi is a film maker to watch.



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  1. […] About Elly […]

  2. […] his earlier films are slowly being released in the U.S.  His 2009 “About Elly” (review here) was a stunning film and we now have his 2006 “Fireworks Wednesday” (review literally […]

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