Saving the honour of Elly.
[This review may contain spoilers]
‘About Elly’ is my second film from the director of ‘A Separation’ even if A’Elly was his earlier work. The impression I had of director Asghar Farhadi was even heightened by About Elly.
About Elly (2009) starts with three families from Tehran driving to a seaside for a three day holiday. Only odd in the group is Miss Elly, invited by Sepideh. Elly is a nursery teacher to Sepideh’s daughter. Sepideh’s intention is to befriend Elly with Ahmad (Shahab Hoseini), who has recently split up. With people cleaning and adjusting their holiday home, the story only advances as a relaxed picnic. Making remarks on Ahmad and Elly doesn’t stop behind the back of Elly, to her embarrassment. The narrative progresses so mildly like a ordinary family adventure until it takes a catastrophic turn with a child drowned into the sea. The child is rescued, but to the greatest dismay of everyone, Elly disappears. The whole narrative turns ‘about Elly.’
|Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti)|
About Elly so authentically empathizes with human nature and emotions. Rather than constructing story around exaggerated twists, it builds up around spontaneity of emotions and actions. Naturalistic performance by actors leaves no room to suspect of any affairs as made up. The participation of the camera in the story makes matters more lively.
|Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani)|
The whole of Iranian society participates in the film as the traumas and troubles associate characters with their gender roles on grounds of their level of dominance and acceptance. Developing like a pursue into the disappearance of Elly, the story completely spins around to examine Elly’s commitment to her relation.
Keeping aside the hope of digging up Elly, the story thus chances in changing the course to question one’s loyalty and morality. The film turns into a judgement about Elly’s character, and Sepideh, at any cost of physical harm, is all set to save the honour of Elly.