ANOTHER TIME portrays a bleak world
Caked in afterbirth glop and dark red blood, a newborn who has just made that perilous journey through the birth canal cries to announce he is alive. We don’t realize it yet, but the rusty wine colored blood that clings to him will be the strongest reminder that this film is shot in color, and not black and white.
Without glamour or cosmetics, ANOTHER TIME gives us an unadulterated image of the struggle for life, first by this squirrely newborn and then by his mother and the many women who struggle without rights in the Iranian landscape. Most culture’s tales of out-of-wedlock teen mothers wouldn’t be happy. ANOTHER TIME gives us a portrait of the punishing misogynist traditions that amplify the pain of such an event several fold.
This is a stark world without gentle reprieves, not just for the birth mother but for any and all we meet. The life of the mother of the teen girl may also hang in the balance. The little that the teen’s sisters enjoy in life is eaten away by the turn of events. And we also come to roil in the pain of the teen’s brutish father, recently returned from being imprisoned for labor activism, who is duty bound to get blood lust revenge and to set his wayward daughter right.
The hilly small town terrain has a dusting of snow, reminding this American reviewer of driving through Charleston West Virginia in the dead of winter and feeling the cold seep into the car. The dark interior home seems to have a built-in prison, making a foreigner wonder if this is exceptional or ubiquitous. Nothing about the town or the surrounding countryside is manicured. Signs of industry intermingle with homes telling us that zoning comforts don’t exist.
Comforts don’t exist, period.
The cinematography is so exquisite that one might feel tempted to slow it down to enable a frame by frame linger. This is Goya in his black period gone celluloid. Superb!
For those of us who expect Iranian films to give us amazing peepholes into a country and culture we will likely never experience first hand ANOTHER TIME more than delivers. Indirectly, it also gives the voices closer to home who would take away womens’ rights the granular listen they deserve. Take away those womens’ rights and what you get is bleakness piled on bleakness.
Then again, what we are really seeing in ANOTHER TIME is the touch of a midwife turned film producer/director, Iranian Nahid Hassanzadeh.
ANOTHER TIME has been making the circuit of worldwide film festivals including the recent Palm Beach International Film Festival, and picking up many awards along the way.
The next listed film festival in the US where ANOTHER TIME will be shown is the Newport Beach Film Festival April 20 – 27.
For more information, visit the Iran Art House Film Distributors website.