MY TEHRAN FOR SALE
Marzieh (Marzieh Vefamehr) is a young female actress living in Tehran. The authorities ban her theatre work and, like all young people in Iran, she is forced to lead a secret life in order to express herself artistically. At an underground rave, she meets Iranian born Saman (Amir Chegini), now an Australian citizen, who offers her a way out of her country and the possibility of living without fear. But there are complications, not the least a medical report that impacts on her plans. Faced with a tough choice, Marzieh has to sell all her possessions to pay for an escape route. But even then, fate puts hurdles in her path, when held in detention in Australia.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you need proof of the universality of the human condition, take a look at the underground concert scene in this film, featuring Iranian singer/songwriter Babak Mirzakhani performing his song, Emshab (Tonight) with his Persian Blues outfit, the Mirza Band. Music, like no other artform, speaks an immediate visceral language, and you'll hear (and feel) in this song a paraphrased longing for life, love and freedom that identifies with the film's theme. For me, it's the film's highlight moment, grabbing us emotionally, funnelling all the sorrow and hope that the people of Tehran struggle with everyday through its melancholy notes. (And it's not the only piece of music that has impact in the film.)
Modern Tehran lives in two time zones: the present, experienced furtively, fleetingly and underground, hidden not in shame but in fear; and the primitive past of a religion-driven intolerance that wants to impose itself on all. Tehran, sadly, is not the only place like this in the Middle East, but it's here this story takes place. Or rather, where it starts. It ends in Australia. And it's not a happy ending. It's perhaps the most important part of the film for Australians, showing how asylum seekers may be driven to desperation by the proximity of freedom and its denial.
Performances are compelling and the guerrilla style filmmaking needs no excuses: it works cinematically on every level. Complex and engaging, My Tehran For Sale is not a simplistic cry or a victim's story; it's a big subject and Granaz Moussavi handles it with grace and sensitivity.
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MY TEHRAN FOR SALE (M)
CAST: Marzieh Vafamehr, Amir Chegini, Asha Mehrabi, Mitra Mehraban, Mobina Karimi, Sandy Cameron
PRODUCER: Julie Ryan, Kate Croser, Granaz Moussavi
DIRECTOR: Granaz Moussavi
SCRIPT: Granaz Moussavi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bonnie Elliott
EDITOR: Bryan Mason
MUSIC: Mohsen Namjou (Haale Gafori and Babak Mirzakhani)
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Cyan Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 19, 2009