Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
VFF ’15: What’s the Time in Your World
question is not why someone decided to leave Iran, but rather why on earth
would they ever come back. It seems especially strange for a woman like Goli to
leave the still comparative safety of Paris, but she has indeed returned. She
experiences a bittersweet homecoming, with the emphasis on the bitter in Safi
Yazdanian What’s the Time in Your World (trailer here), which screens
during the 2015 Vilnius Film Festival. As our Baltic friends and allies cast a
wary eye at their belligerent imperialist neighbors to the east, we salute
their commitment to freedom and the arts, the latter most definitely reflected
by this year’s “Kino Pavasaris.”
Goli did not make the journey home for her mother’s funeral, many are quite
surprised to see her now. It seems to have been a rather impulsively decision,
but Yazdanian will slowly explain it through his examination of the expatriate
psyche—at least to an extent. While her aunt is happy to see her, nobody is
more pleased by the end of her exile than Farhad, the local framer. However,
Goli is quite perplexed to receive so much attention from a man she does not
turns out, she and Farhad distantly traveled in the same extended social
circles during her student days, but she obviously made a far greater
impression on him than he did with her. Nevertheless, he stepped up
considerably while she was in Paris, befriending her aunt and late mother.
Given his vouched for status as a friend of the family, Farhad is now
determined to woo Goli, but she remains confused and ambivalent about him.
Time has nothing to do with politics,
concentrating instead on fundamentally human issues, such as love, infatuation,
and memory. Yet, there is a big conspicuous hole in the film where all of Goli
and Farhad’s mutual friends should be. It becomes clear anyone with any talent
and a minimal capacity for free-thinking finds a way to immigrate. There is a
reason a drop-out like Farhad is the big man of the town. All the best and the
brightest have left.
many ways, Time is a tragic film, but
its characters are too mature and world weary to engage in any sort of
hand-wringing. Indeed, there is a lot of resignation, but that will not
necessarily lead to reconnection and reconciliation. Frankly, that is why the
chemistry between co-leads, Leila Hatami (A Separation) and Ali Mosaffa (The Past)
is so hard to describe, yet so potent.
is a small film, but it is acutely sensitive and arguably rather honest, in an
oblique way. Clearly, Yazdanian is an actor’s director, but he also gives
viewers a vivid sense of the northern coastal city of Rasht, as well as the considerable
effort required to get there. Christophe Rezai’s distinctive guitar and strings
score further heightens the melancholia, evoking both classic and contemporary
It is a classy package well worth checking out.
Should you head off to Vilnius to see it? Sure, if that is an option. If not,
look for it as it continues to make the festival rounds. Recommended for
thoughtful audiences, What's the Time in
Your World screens this Monday (3/23) and Thursday (3/26) at this year’s
Vilnius Film Festival. (Other notable highlights include Uncle Tony, Three Fools, and the Secret Service; Li’l Quinquin; Timbuktu;
The Fool; Gyeongju; and Rocks in My Pockets.
Labels: Iranian Cinema, VFF '15