Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Rakshan Banietemad ends her eight-year hiatus from feature filmmaking with this ingenious, mosaic-like narrative, which knits together the stories of seven characters to create a microcosm of Iranian working-class society.
Ending an eight-year hiatus from narrative feature filmmaking, award-winning Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Banietemad returns with Tales, which weaves the stories of seven characters linked by shared struggles — social, economic, and political — into a film that is both a microcosm of Iranian working-class society and an incisive, luminous portrait of human fallibility and virtue in the face of everyday challenges.
With graceful narrative finesse, Banietemad and her co-screenwriter Farid Mostafavi give the impression that they are casually eavesdropping on lives. From Abbas, a cabbie working the night shift as a means to support his family after bungling a drug deal; to the elderly Mrs. Touba, fighting to have her son released from jail after a politically motivated arrest; to Reza, a middle-aged factory worker whose illiteracy becomes a source of impetuous jealousy when his wife receives a letter from her ex-husband; to Nargess, a social worker and former drug addict whose violent, estranged addict husband comes after her with malice in mind — Tales observes its assorted protagonists with a rare and perfectly calibrated balance of objectivity and compassion.
Using her interlinking mosaic approach to draw together many of the concerns she has addressed in her previous films (especially women's issues), Banietemad effortlessly shifts tones between nightmarish suspense, forceful drama, scathing bureaucratic satire, and unexpected comedy. With a cast composed of some of the veteran stalwarts of Iranian cinema (Golab Adineh, Mehdi Hashemi, Farhad Aslani) and such up-and-coming stars as Peiman Moadi (of Asghar Farhadi's A Separation), Tales is an inspiring paean to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
CONTEMPORARY WORLD SPEAKERS
Ron Levi, Director of the Master of Global Affairs Program at the Munk School, is an expert on global justice, and human rights regimes. He will speak about Tales in an extended Q&A session following the second screening of the film. Special thanks to the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs.