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A Man of Integrity

The Iranian film is reminiscent of the US paranoia thrillers of the 1970s: not just because a big company is targeting Reza‘s estate, but because everyone who is somehow involved profits from Reza‘s downfall.

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A MAN OF INTEGRITY is the latest film of award-winning director Mohammad Rasoulof, all of whose films have been forbidden in Iran. Rasoulof was imprisoned in the past and to date, awaits trial in Iran after he returned from abroad and his passport was confiscated in 2017.

The film expounds on, with no equivocation, the societal corruption and life under an oppressive regime in modern day Iran.

The plot of A MAN OF INTEGRITY starts out quite simply but becomes increasingly complex. Reza, his wife and son live modestly in rural Iran. Someone with money and influence wants Reza’s land. Reza wants justice in a society in which a fair fight doesn’t exist and punching below the belt is the norm. Potentially to his own disadvantage, he arduously resists the stream of corruption instead of letting it take him.

In addition to striking images of Iranian countryside, the acting performances make this film engrossing. In every expression of Reza (Reza Akhlaghirad), a lifetime of erosion of his existence by the system can be understood, as can the conflict between his personal values and a lawless universe. It’s also clear that Reza’s wife Hadis (Soudabeh Beizaee) seeks to support Reza’s ideals but also believes that self-preservation may require a sacrificing of those ideals.

It was nice to take a hiatus from so-called Western cinema. Admittedly, in the first moments of the film I had to calm and acclimate my inner Hollywood film junkie, who screamed, Why is nothing happening?! The narrative is quiet, akin to reading. There are no explosions, shoot outs, riveting chases, or rousing fights. There is no soundtrack to induce feeling. What you feel from this film comes merely from observing the plight of a goldfish farmer worlds away. Yet it feels very near, like a punch to the gut.

Janielle Williams

Credits

Original title: Lerd
Iran 2017, 117 min
Language: Persian, English
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
Author: Mohammad Rasoulof
DOP: Ashkan Ashkani
Music: Peyman Yazdanian
Distributor: Cosmopol
Cast: Reza Akhlaghirad, Soudabeh Beizaee, Nasim Adabi
FSK: 12
Release: 02.05.2019

Website

Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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