TalesOriginal Title: Ghesse-ha
Director: Rakhshan Banietemad
Iran | Farsi
Subtitles: Arabic, English
Communication breakdowns and struggles for dignity punctuate the many elements of Rakhshan Banietemad’s trenchant new feature. From a bureaucrat who spouts inanities and ignores an elderly petitioner pleading for medical care to a group of factory workers kept from protesting the shutdown of their place of employment, the film brings together several distinct stories that add up to an overwhelming whole. Two of the segments, riffing on Kiarostami, take place in vehicles and involve long conversations fraught with meaning while another particularly tense section depicts an abusive husband demanding to see his wife. Misunderstandings, desperate acts and drug addiction are all portrayed with great compassion and an unflinching eye.
Banietemad has been focusing on documentaries for the last eight years, and her return to the narrative form is an essential by-product of her immersion in nonfiction work. With Tales, she sounds the alarm for the immense difficulties encountered by the working class—especially women—in Iran and assembles a cast of veteran actors including Golab Adineh, Mehdi Hashemi and Peiman Moadi. “There’s no decency here,' moans the old man to the bureaucrat mentioned above; hopefully, this film, by identifying and portraying societal problems in so refined and moving a manner, will go some way toward rectifying such circumstances for the future.