Directed by: Asghar Farhadi. Sometimes it’s important to take the risk of indulging in petty liberal-guilt tokenism and deciding “it’s time to see some films from Iran.” In this case, there was the recent passing of beloved filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami that got me thinking, but after soliciting some advice from an Iranian coworker (“Kiarostami is the one you’re supposed to like but most actual Iranians find it kind of dull and arty”, to which I thought “is he the Iranian Atom Egoyan?”), I took the suggestion to check this one out. This one is also very beloved and arty, but now that I’ve seen it, I have to say, deservedly so. And really, there’s nothing terribly arty about this one, it’s a pretty straightforward, fly-on-the-wall, cinema verité, slice of life working class drama, but it has the sensibility that I would usually call European, by which I mean, it doesn’t come across like a giant unbelievable piece of shit like any Hollywood slice of life drama would. Like, I can already see the American remake with Meryl Streep and Richard Gere in the lead roles, leaving tooth marks in the fucking scenery. This was just a really well done, honest story about human beings struggling with their limitations inside of human institutions. The leads Sareh Bayat and Peyman Moaadi do an incredible job here, and the plot is one of the smartest, most compelling things I’ve seen. So this definitely piques my curiosity to see if other Iranian film is the same, or to see if there are some Afghanistani or Pakistani filmmakers, or literally anything that was made between the Mediterranean and China that I could check out. And yes, I’ll have to check out some Kiarostami one of these days.