Movies Watched -- About Elly

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In Persian. 119 minutes so at least 20 to 30 minutes too long. Streamed on Netflix so no possibility to fast forward. I think a lot of it gets lost in translation. For an ignorant American like me, I don't know anything about Iran or Persian culture, but the basic conflict here is between modernity and traditional values and the secular world and the sacred. It was interesting to me to see the level of development in Iran, it looked poor, like China did 15 years ago. 

A group of educated professionals from Tehran go to the seaside (the Caspian sea) for a weekend. Three couples plus one of their old classmates (Ahmad), recently divorced and living in Germany, and a pretty teacher acquaintance (Elly) whom they are trying to hook up with Ahmad. Elly disappears and they don't know if she has drowned or run away. The writer/director (yes, a W.D. By movie) is interested in group dynamics and human nature and how small lies can build up and things (relationships) can fall apart fast when strained (think Lord of the Flies).

Anyway, there are also class issues here (the slack-jawed bumpkins they rent a house from represent rural, unsophisticated, religious society, I guess) that the director explored a lot more thoroughly in another movie of his ("A Separation," which I really liked). It turns out that Sepideh, this stunningly beautiful woman, knew that Elly was engaged to another man before she tried to hook her up with Ahmad, and this is a major no-no in religious Iran (apparently religious fundamentalists are in power there, and they have rules about how engaged women should behave). Elly shouldn't even have gone with them in the first place, and they resent the pickle she's placed them in (even more than they mourn her death).

If you're interested in Persian culture, and this sacred/secular, modern/traditional divide, then you should see it. It gets a yellow rating from me (not green, not red).

Here's my master list of all the movies from 2015 that I've watched.

 Radiant Sepideh, still lying

Radiant Sepideh, still lying