Although in the film festival where I watched it this film was billed as one about the environment (and its legendary director, who was present, endorsed this interpretation), this film is more about one man's attempt to grapple with the contradictions of modern Iran. The plot is straightforward: a press photographer, inspired by a book on feng shui, begins altering his life by clearing his home, and then his city, of clutter and garbage. In the process he is supported by his son and his son's tutor, but comes into conflict with his émigré wife, a mathematical genius. This film thus tells two inter-connected stories: one of a man's obsession with an issue (that of garbage), and the other of a marriage falling to pieces, partly because of this obsession, but partly also because of the divergent ambitions of the couple. Leila Hatami as the wife is very convincing, although her role is quite similar to the one she played in 2011 in Asghar Farhadi's acclaimed 'A Separation'. Individual actors' performances are good, and the musical score is wonderful, but there are moments when Hamed Behadad (the protagonist)essays his enthusiasm for his cause with energy that is too forced to be realistic. While telling these stories the director provides a commentary on the rapidly changing gender roles in his country, the issue of custody being a case in point. Although entertaining, with doses of humour, the two segments of the film don't dovetail very neatly into each other, as the second half is more family melodrama, and loses the focus of the first half. The resolution, too, is forced and lacks the enigmatic quality that characterizes the very best of Iranian cinema.
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