Friday, April 30, 2010
Nader Takmil Homayoun (France/Iran, 2009)
Nader Takmil Homayoun in Person
Tehroun, also the slang ascribed to the decrepit slums of Tehran by its inhabitants, aggressively captures the underbelly of a class of people in ruin within the framework of a crime thriller. Hardworking Ibrahim, a professional beggar, struggles to keep his trade afloat with the added accessories of a helpless infant he carries all day in the hot sun, and a concocted tragic story of a fictitious dead mother. The truth of the matter, as we quickly learn, is that the baby is not even his, but rather a stolen child he rents in installments from the local ganglord in order to bump up his daily earnings. They live in squalor with his two longtime friends, both equally ill equipped to care for a newborn. When his pregnant wife makes an unexpected excursion to Tehran, Ibrahim entrusts the baby to a bumbling youngster, who promptly loses it to a conniving prostitute. Their meager lives now unraveling, Ibrahim must find either the baby or a way to pay the difference, a journey that only leads further into the self-destructive depravity of Tehroun. Winner of the audience prize at the Venice Film Festival’s Critic’s Week, debut feature director Nader T. Homayoun’s controversial exposé is shocking in its casual portrayal of poverty. Deftly reveling in what’s left unsaid, Tehroun employs an authentic approach to constructing nuanced characters already dehumanized by their dangerous surroundings, scraping hungrily to dig themselves out of the muck at whatever cost.
• Written by Homayoun, Jean-Philippe Gaud, Mehdi Boustani. Photographed by Rémi Mazet. With Ali Ebdali, Sara Bahrami, Farzin Mohades, Missagh Zareh. (95 mins)