A Respectable Family
A Respectable FamilyOriginal Title: Yek Khanévadéh-e Mohtaram
Director: Massoud Bakhshi
France, Iran | Farsi
Subtitles: Arabic and English
When an expat professor returns to Iran after 22 years abroad, he becomes mired in bureau-cratic frustrations and domestic intrigue in this daringly caustic drama that marks the narrative
feature debut of prize-winning documentarian Massoud Bakhshi (Tehran Has No More Pomegranates
As his semester teaching at Shiraz University draws to a close with school authorities interfering
with his syllabus, Arash (Babak Hamidian) finds himself unable to return to France because he lacks a military exemption. Meanwhile, the death of his estranged father, a brutal war profiteer, leads his loathsome half-brother (Mehran Ahamadi) and nephew (Mehrdad Sedighian) to launch a byzantine scheme to nab the patriarch’s entire fortune.
Moving between Shiraz and Tehran and the present and the past like a game of narrative hide-and-seek, the film is haunted by the eight-year Iran-Iraq war and the young men martyred during those years. Bakhshi excels at creating an atmosphere of existential threat, particularly in the contemporary scenes. There are also some powerful visual metaphors and a sophisticated sound design. Kudos to fans of Iranian cinema who can name the Amir Naderi film that Arash is trying to screen for his class.
– Alissa Simon