Iranian director Asghar Farhadi scored a big hit in 2012 when his film A Separation won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film at last year’s Academy Awards.
The drama about a couple’s complicated divorce provided a fascinating insight into society in modern-day Iran. Farhadi, a gifted director when it comes to tense, dramatic storytelling, produces another compelling drama with About Elly, a film made before A Separation but which had its release this side of the world only recently.
Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) is an affable young woman who decides to take a trip to the coast with a group of friends and their kids. Also along for the trip is Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), a rather quiet soul who happens to teach Sepideh’s young daughter. Unknown to Elly however, Sepideh’s main reason for inviting her along is that she hopes to play matchmaker between her and Ahmad, a friend whose marriage has recently ended.
Although the break starts off well with the group engaging in various fun activities things soon take a turn for the worse when one of the kids gets into trouble while swimming and Elly mysteriously disappears.
Has Elly drowned while trying to save the child or has she decided to do a runner on the group?
As the mystery deepens, tensions soon rise to the fore as everyone realises none of them actually know Elly that well.
Farhadi begins his film as a light-hearted drama focusing on a group of middle-class friends and in doing so shows a contemporary Iran which, despite the cultural differences, is one we here can relate to through its interesting characters.
However, once the mystery concerning Elly’s disappearance kicks in, the mood quickly changes and we find ourselves pulled into a taut thriller where lies and manipulation become the order of the day. In addition to a well-written script which tackles a number of issues without laying it on too heavy Farhadi has assembled a talented cast for his film, all of whom give strong naturalistic performances, most notably Farahani who may be familiar to audiences here from her appearance in the Ridley Scott film Body of Lies.
About Elly is an intriguing drama which will be screened at The Source Arts Centre in Thurles on Wednesday, February 13th at 8pm. Tickets are priced at E9 (E7 consession and E5 for Film Club members).
For more information please contact the box office on 0504 90204 or visit www.thesourceartscentre.ie.