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Posts Tagged ‘Sahab Hosseini’

** as ***

Golshifteh Farahani as Sepideh

“ABOUT ELLY” My rating: B

119 minutes | No MPAA rating

Three families share a long weekend in a rented (and rundown) villa along Iran’s Caspian coast. There’s much good-natured joking, dancing, smoking, cooking out, eating.

These individuals — old law school acquaintances who’ve done well (at least if the BMWs they drive are any indication) — are joined on their mini-vacation by two visitors.  The first is their old friend Ahmad (the charismatic Shahab Hosseini), who lives in Germany and was recently divorced. The second is Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), who teaches the young daughter of Sepideh, one of the wives.

Without consulting anyone else Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) has  invited the single Elly along for the weekend. Ostensibly Elly is there to watch the kids, but it doesn’t take the group long to figure out that Sepideh is playing matchmaker. Especially when she tells the manager of their rental property that Ahmad and Elly are honeymooners. (Iran’s morality police surely would frown on this arrangement, no matter how innocent it seems by Western standards.)

The first 40 or so minutes of “About Elly” — from writer/director Asghar Farhadi, who had a huge art house hit with “A Separation” — are devoted to the settling-in process. Gas and electricity must be turned on, bags unpacked, months of dust and cobwebs swept out. Ahmad and Elly take a brief drive — neither wants to talk about why they’re both there. Several times during the first afternoon, in fact, Elly tries to leave to catch a bus back to Teheran. She’s talked out of it by Sepideh.

And then one of the children nearly drowns. After the confusion and panic of his rescue and resuscitation die down, someone notices that Elly is missing.

Did she make good on her plan to return home? Was she snatched (apparently the beach has a high crime rate)? Did she try to rescue the drowning boy and herself succumb to the waves?

The police are called, a search and rescue boat dispatched.  Nothing. If Elly did indeed drown, her body will wash up within a day or two.

Talk about putting a damper on the weekend!
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