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Vaghti Parvaneh Shodam

When I Became a Butterfly

Iran 2018
produced by
Mehdi Jafarian for Eli Image
directed by Arash Zaree
starring Arash Aasefi, Mitra Hajjar, Hossein Heshmatian
written by Mehdi Jafarian, Arash Zaree

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Parvaneh is suffering under the rule of her husband Mostafa, a recovering drug addict who hasn't got a job who does nothing to keep the household going but complains about her all the time. Also he's not the best of neighbours, with many of the locals complaining about him. But his son Kasra pretty much worships him, and he seems to love the boy, too - until Parvaneh finds out he uses Kasra as a drug courier, as while he might not be using anymore, he's still pushing, and in a way that pisses many of his associates off. Eventually, Parvaneh and Mostafa get into an argument that culminates with Mostafa falling down some stairs to his death. This gets Parvaneh into a bit of an understandable panic, as she knows she'll be accused of his murder whatever the truth. Heck, even Kasra thinks her guilty at first and only refrains from calling the police as he doesn't want to be sent to an orphanage should she be found guilty. So Parvaneh keeps Mostafa's body in the basement on ice, and even drags him to his bedroom when his mother comes for a visit, knowing she wouldn't dare waking up her son. She also throws cigarette buds out the window onto the street, even though she doesn't smoke, just because Mostafa did the same. When she finds his stash, she also manages to feed off his most persistent customers. And she rides round the neighbourhood in his clothes on his motorbike, just to give the illusion he's still around. Kasra, who at first hated his mom for what she did (in his eyes), slowly comes round to seeing things from her perspective and helps her keep up the pretense. And the longer this is going on, the more Parvaneh's self confidence inflates until she starts taking actual steps towards independence ...

 

This film is several things at once, social drama and commentary, crime thriller, plea for female empowerment ... and even dark comedy - and above all it's a pretty wonderful movie as it manages to escape all the trappings the story offers by default, it's neither too sentimental nor downright sad, neither does it in the violence department nor goes gruesome (for shock or comedy value), instead tells its story in a very natural way. And a directorial effort steeped in realism and devoid of all spectacle helps here, as do very natural and grounded performances, all making this a pretty awesome movie.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
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produced by and starring
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written by
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