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20 Fingers (2004)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 342 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 6 critic

A film in several episodes with Bijan Daneshmand and Mania Akbari, exposing some of the issues of men and women within the confines of tradition and family life in Iran. Each episode ... See full summary »

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Title: 20 Fingers (2004)

20 Fingers (2004) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

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The Husband, The Man
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The Wife- The Woman
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Storyline

A film in several episodes with Bijan Daneshmand and Mania Akbari, exposing some of the issues of men and women within the confines of tradition and family life in Iran. Each episode displays a different form of male/female interaction. The placing of the actors in a moving vehicle or against a moving back drop signifies the movement of life despite all the obstacles in its way. The film deals with the roots of dependencies, limitations, power struggles and conflict that are the familiar stuff of life of couples in the Middle East. Written by Setareh Moayed Sabeti

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Drama

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1 September 2004 (Italy)  »

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20 Fingers  »

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(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

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1.85 : 1
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Dedicated to Abbas Kiarostami. See more »

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Followed by From Tehran to London (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting and engaging debate even if the narrative is slightly weakened as a result
23 May 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A man and a woman are together as husband and wife, but things are not as smooth as they should be. She has become pregnant with what will be their second child but she doesn't want to have it and has made an appointment for an abortion. He wants another child – his chance at a son, but all she can see is this will end any small bit of freedom she has carved for herself and will make her body uglier and fatter. This contentious issue is only one they differ on as the series of scenes highlight the issues faced by men and women living in a traditional religious culture.

With a title that refers to the number of sexual partners it takes to turn a woman into a whore (according to a grandmother) this is a fascinating film that delivers just enough narrative to hold the film together as a story while it goes down a much more interesting road of looking at men and women within "modern" Iranian society. The film opens with a rather disturbing scene that didn't totally work for me but then gets better as the dialogue flows, the characters come out and the debate is spread throughout the film by people who discuss it as if they were just normal people in the street. The narrative side of it perhaps takes it to extremes in the final section but otherwise the story holds together well enough and the characters work. Of course, the actual debate side of it is the money, and it is worth seeing this for simply because it allows you a view of a culture you will not know (if you are in the West) and then debates it from both sides. It is fascinating and, more importantly, thought provoking and it is easy to see why it has been banned in some countries where this sort of freedom to think and speculate is not really the norm.

In terms of direction, the film is really impressive. Sure some of it is a bit jerky but it is only occasionally that that bothered me – but technically it is still very impressive. Long takes in themselves are challenging and it is surprising just how few edits there are in the whole film, but the argument on the motorbike scene is particularly memorable. Most people will think of Goodfellas when asked to name an impressive "one shot" take; perhaps some will think of the bogus "one take" in Snake Eyes, but this sees an argument on a motorbike through the streets, into and then out of a taxi – all in one take. Apparently it was very difficult but it was worth it as scene works on both a technical level and in terms of material. With the long takes the actors are even more impressive and both Daneshmand and Akbari are very natural and make the debate and characters work well.

Overall this is a fine film that is well worth seeing. The narrative may not be the strongest because of the way in which the film is delivered but everything else works well. The long takes mean that both the acting and directing must have been challenging but they are all impressive. The script comes across natural but provides an insight into the society while also building an interesting and engaging debate around it. Well worth seeing, in particular for the all-star turn from Akbari – hitting the target as writer, performer and director.


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