Tehran: City of Love
Stars: Forough Ghajabagli, Mehdi Saki, Amir Hessam Bakhtiari, Behnaz Jafari
Three crisscrossing disparate Iranian singletons look for love and affection in contemporary Iran in this wistful but winning comedy drama. Mina (Ghajabegli) is an overweight receptionist at a beauty clinic who passes the time eating ice cream and catfishing single men using photos of glamourous women on dating websites; Hessam (Bakhtiari) is a divorced weightlifting champion who bonds with the young man he is training. Vahid (Saki) is a sullen funeral singer who tries to cheer himself up by performing more upbeat material at weddings where he meets and falls for attractive and sophisticated photographer Niloufar (Jafari). Despite their socio-political situation, the characters’ universality is the takeaway here (it’s only in Vahid’s story that the authoritarian theocratic regime plays a major part), and sprigs of hope appear through the melancholy with each of the flawed but relatable trio, if not enriched, then at least wiser after their respective experiences.