First feature in 13 years from strongly independent helmer Naser Taghvai (“Captain Korshid,” “O Iran”), “Blank Page” has much to say about contemporary middle-class life. Its portrait of a restless woman who longs to become a screenwriter despite her husband’s opposition boasts a striking realism not seen in other films. At the same time, its indulgence in long, repetitive domestic scenes will make it a hard sell offshore.
At 33, Roya (Hedye Tehrani) is dissatisfied with her life as a wife and mother of two. An interminable opener with Roya telling the kids a bedtime story reveals her powerful imagination. She enrolls in a scriptwriting course at college and begins juggling the kids and her studies. As tension at home rises, she takes more tranquilizers and squabbles nonstop with husband Jahan (Khosro Shakibaie), a hard-working architect. Her desire for her own money and space to write is understandable, but her sharp-tongued sarcasm and brinkmanship with Jahan and the kids undercuts audience identification. When she finally finishes her script, it is about her family life, with scenes taken from the film we’ve just seen. Jahan shows no appreciation.
Taghvai and cinematographer Farhad Saba shoot the film elegantly, mostly in the confines of a two-bedroom apartment. Leads Tehrani and Shakibaie are relaxed pros who work their way through the long, wordy scenes in a rather stagy way, yet still manage to bring out the naturally fuzzy border between anger and affection, individualism and compromise.