The Report

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
With Shohreh Aghdashloo, Kurosh Afsharpanah, Mehdi Montazar.
Iran, 1977, digital video, color, 110 min.
Persian with English subtitles.
Copy source: Janus Films

Kiarostami’s first feature-length film takes on the straight-forward … of the title in its depiction of a few days in the life of Mahmad, a government worker, his wife—Shohreh Aghdashloo in her debut—and their young child. Kiarostami provides a detailed record of bureaucratic convolution and tedium, as well as the inefficiency, corruption, alienation and boredom surrounding Mahmad and his colleagues’ work. Feeling boxed in in their respective roles, most of the couple’s discussions are around money, and momentary happiness is quickly exterminated by various rules and regulations or reactions to them. Mahmad uses deception, denial and transgression to escape; she resorts to more drastic means. Shot just before the Iranian Revolution, The Report was censored and lingered unseen for many years. Despite its dystopian take on modern life, the film remains an unwitting record of a period of secularization and Westernization in Iran that would soon disappear and be replaced by an entirely different set of rules.

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