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Leila and Reza meet in a kind of celebration and fall for each other. Having discovered their love, they get married soon only to find out the infertility of Leila. That's when Reza's authoritative mother starts wheedling Leila to persuade Reza into second marriage for the sake of having a grandchild. Leila accepts at first but is unaware of her own strain threshold. Written by
It's everything the DVD liner notes said: unflinching, eloquent, devastating, beautiful, thoughtful
Filmmaker Dariush Mehrjui has given us a stylish, thoughtful and moving Iranian film, "Leila" 1998. Anyone can easily appreciate the storyline, and most of all, women can empathize with central heroine Leila, the emotional journey that she is going through. Actress Leila Hatami captured the role of Leila, the young capable wife, to perfect tempo. Actor Ali Mosaffa comparably portrayed her loving supportive husband Reza. Together they put us at ease even when we see them arguing or frustrated by his mother's interfering calls - we somehow felt they would pull through. Or would they? Can Leila withstand her mother in law's insistence? Her silence to her own parents about her 'secret' lend no backbone solace to herself. How will she manage?
Mehrjui also wrote the screenplay and his direction of the film is just as poignant. Its eloquence is at once unflinching and beautiful, devastating and thoughtful. In a culture so traditional, full of 'compulsory' expectations of an heir, a grandson, Leila and Reza is really depicted as quite modern in their marriage and thinking. There is suspense, alright, as we wait and waver with Leila, as we want to side with Reza to let things be. Yet once Leila decided to go ahead, the mood and pace transformed to anticipation and wonderment. We want to respect their reactions. We hope things would work out in Leila (and Reza)'s favor. Will they? How will it all end? The devastation Leila experienced touches us deeply. We worry for her. What shall Reza do? So many questions. So many unknowns. Hang in there. Writer-director-producer Mehrjui does not disappoint. "Leila" is a wonderful 'filmic' journey in spite of having to read subtitles. The acting, cinematography, score, everything about it is quality production. (129 minutes in Farsi with English subtitles.)
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