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SYNOPSIS: Why would someone give money away? Jayal Ashtiyani (Vahid Jalilvand), a middle class teacher, offers to provide a significant sum of money to a worthy person in need. His advertisement in the local newspaper on Wednesday, On May 9, has encouraged a large crowd to come to his office and make a convincing appeal. But how will he, and the police, deal with the throng of needy candidates who assemble? How does he decide who is actually the most worthy?

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Australian audiences unfamiliar with Iranian cinema might find this film a confronting exploration of a culture that appears so misogynistic that we are outraged just watching it. But that's not the point of the film. Indeed, this is a philosophy workshop in the guise of a morality tale with the genes of a character drama. The filmmaking technique is as unusual to Western eyes as the subject matter, but to those familiar with Iranian filmmaking, it is not so strange.

The quiet intensity of the film reflects the subject matter: middle aged and middle class Jayal Ashtiyani (Vahid Jalilvand) causes social disruption when he places an ad offering to give someone with deserving circumstances - the successful sob story, a cynic would say - several thousand dollars. Unsurprisingly, at least to us, the ad attracts a large crowd of people with heartbreaking stories. We hear just three, two of them at length. These stories are what prompts me to refer to Iran's misogynistic socio-religious culture.

Yet the moral dilemma Jalilvand explores is the question whether he is justified in his actions in pursuit of a very private wound he is trying to soothe. Attendant on the premise, of course, is the notion of judgment as to which of the cases is more deserving. The film invites us to invest in the stories (especially the two longer ones), and I'd be stumped to make that choice. These philosophical questions become acutely real and pressing in the actual world, and the heartwrenching performances ensure we are deeply moved.

It's Jalilvand's first feature, and won the international critics prize at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. His previous work is in TV and theatre. This is an impressive film debut.

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(Iran, 2015)

Chaharshanbeh, 19 Ordibehesht

CAST: Niki Karimi, Amir Aghaei, Shahrokh Forootanian, Vahid Jalilvand, Borzou Arjmand, Afarin Obeisi, Saeed Da?kh, Kataneh Afshar Nejad, Sahar Ahmadpour, Milad Yazdani

PRODUCER: Ali Jalilvand, Mohammad Hossein Latifi

DIRECTOR: Vahid Jalilvand

SCRIPT: Ali Zarnegar, Vahid Jalilvand, Hossein Mahkam

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Morteza Poursamadi

EDITOR: Vahid Jalilvand, Sepehr Vakili

MUSIC: Karen Homayounfar


RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 29, 2016 - Vic: Cinema Nova, Classic Elsternwick, Lido Cinemas, Cameo Cinemas Belgrave; QLD: Schonell Theatre; WA: Luna Leederville Perth; TAS: State Cinema Hobart; NT: Araluen Arts Centre; NSW: TBA

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