Friday, December 11, 2020

Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness Review: A Brilliant Look At Entertainment And Production

Sadaf Asgari	...	Maryam Behnaz Jafari	Behnaz Jafari	...	Mona Babak Karimi	Babak Karimi	...	Ayat, the producer Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy	Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy	...	The mother Forough Ghajabagli	Forough Ghajabagli	...	Keshavarz Arman Darvish	Arman Darvish	...	Omid, the TV host Fereshteh Hosseini	Fereshteh Hosseini	...	Anar Zakieh Behbahani	Zakieh Behbahani	...	TV director Ramona Shah	Ramona Shah	...	Police Officer Faghiheh Soltani	Faghiheh Soltani	...	Firouz

Release date: December 11, 2020
Running time: 89 minutes
Starring: Sadaf Asgari, Behnaz Jafari, Babak Karimi 
Written and Directed By: Massoud Bakhshi

In Iran today: Maryam (22, Asgari) accidentally kills her husband Nasser (65) and is sentenced to death.  The only person who can save her is Mona (37, Jafari), Nasser's daughter.  All Mona has to do is to appear on a popular live TV show and forgive Maryam.  But forgiveness proves difficult when they are forced to relive the past.

This film is all about produced content and actual forgiveness, and it is also focused on the changing societal and class structure within Iran.  The opening sequence captures this perfectly.  Modern Iran is changing as more and more people are drawn to an urban environment and the comforts that it brings.  In the opening of the film, you see a sprawling city and some beautiful lights that set the stage for this unique film.  And the movie progresses like very few movies do.  This film is not about spectacle, but about solid writing and slow reveals.  You don't get the full story at the start, you get pieces of what happened throughout as you slowly learn more about the situation and about young Maryam.  And as more information about her backstory and the situation that caused her to need this night of forgiveness come to light, your feelings on all the characters ebb and flow.

Siavash Aghaiepour	...	associate producer Joëlle Bertossa	...	co-producer Jacques Bidou	...	producer Marianne Dumoulin	...	producer Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu	...	producer Nicole Gerhards	...	co-producer Bady Minck	...	co-producer Ali Mosaffa	...	co-producer Fred Prémel	...	co-producer (as Fred Premel) Georges Schoucair	...	co-producer Flavia Zanon	...	co-producer    Directed by  Massoud Bakhshi	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Massoud Bakhshi
And this setup really is the perfect vehicle for these actors to shine and stretch their dramatic chops.  The whole show is about forgiving someone for murder, and as the backstory is revealed there are some very tense situations and plenty of drama and emotions.  And there are also plenty of additional interests and angles that show that the television production's goals might not align exactly with the best interests of all involved.  And as Mona is weighing her decision, it really lets all of the actors go through waves of emotions.  This is accentuated by new information that is introduced throughout the story, allowing the characters to take in this new information and react, often very emotionally.  

This film is set on a fictionalized television show that is based on real programs in Iran.  And being set on a television program, which is used for entertainment and influence, you get a really interesting perspective on our overproduced world.  There is so much back and forth here that happens behind the scenes that you can't help but be fascinated, horrified, and a little thankful to finally see how this sausage is made.  There are so many incentives and pressures built into this setup that it makes for a fascinating and compelling film.  And there is also a great sense of production in this production.  The little bits that are put in for the fictionalized show's publicity, how scenes are cut into and out of frame, and some of the antics for ratings really make this feel like you are watching a show get made.  I really liked some of the spots that are clearly done for promotion but look sad and overdone against the backdrop of what just happened.  It really is a fantastic look at society in general.  But I will also admit, it was an entertaining show to watch.  And when you are finding out the final verdict, I was definitely holding my breath.

Yalda, A Night For Forgiveness brilliantly looks into our overproduced society and what we take for entertainment through the lens of a fake television show with plenty of drama, tension, stellar acting, and an entertaining end product. 

Watch it.

Murder Forgiveness Grace Mercy Forgive Television Production produced show instagram influencer entertaining entertainment

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