White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Friday, April 30, 2010

About Elly: Why are we so complicated?

1. About Elly is a ground breaking work in Iranian screen plays. Every minute of this scenario is intelligently designed. The characters are diverse set of edgy people. People who come to extreme support, jealousy, sneakiness, anger, attacks, ... A total picture of an ultra-complex society named 21st century Iran

2. In my trips to Iran, I've been wondering why we Iraians usually have tired faces. We're not the single country who go through political and financial injustice and most of our problem are shared by others nations across the Middle East. After watching About Elly, I feel tired. Not tired of the great film, but tired of dealing with my fellow countrymen's difficult mindset: The labyrinth of manners and characters!! So much lies and sneakiness, hiding, subtleness ... I have seen a few Iranians who don't like this film for no clear reason. I guess the film takes too much of audience's energy in this self-portrait.

3. This film is a great picture of Iranian women's social insecurities. A constant battle of hiding and embarrassment and constant fear of loosing their status: in the crowd, in front of their husband, etc. Guilt is a major element of these women: Almost all women in this film feel guilty.
Elly is guilty of cheating on her fiance, Sepideh for inviting Elly and causing all the troubles, one for not liking Eli, one for asking her to watch the kids.... In contrast, none of the guys even the one who beats his wife share the guilt.

4. Now we're used to Asghar Farhadi's grand style of activating audience's imagination. So many of things are left for us to improvise: Did Elly really know about the trip's setup or it was Sepideh's plan? What happened to Elly? Did she commit suicide? Did she go after the kid? After all these rounds of lies and secrecy, what's gonna happen to the lives of each of these couples?

Why are we so complicated? How old are our complexities? Does it only relate to our history of past 30 years? Where does this sneakiness come from? We're such an entertaining subject for sociologists and anthropologists!
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