Helmer Hassan Yektapanah again looks at issues of emigration and cultural difference, similarly shot in a stark mountainous landscape. Yektapanah's concern with Iranians risking their lives to leave their country barely explores motivations, making this winner of a Locarno Silver Leopard is a minor entry that at most will interest fests seeking Persian fare.

In his follow-up to the Camera d’Or winning “Djomeh,” helmer Hassan Yektapanah again looks at issues of emigration and cultural difference, similarly shot in a stark mountainous landscape. But while the earlier film’s simplicity was tempered with genuine attachment to the characters, the ensemble cast in “Story Undone” rarely gets the opportunity to make an impression. Yektapanah’s concern with Iranians risking their lives to leave their country barely explores motivations, making this winner of a Locarno Silver Leopard for first or second film is a minor entry that at most will interest fests seeking Persian fare.

Mazdak (Mazdak Taebi) and Mehdi (Mehdi Baghaian) bribe smugglers into allowing them to make a docu onboard a bus carrying human cargo toward the frontier. Initially they’re extra-conscientious, bringing masks so the would-be emigrants can maintain their anonymity — but they fail to ingratiate themselves with the jumpy passengers and are kicked out. Determined to get their story, they rejoin the group, now on foot, and save them from capture by convincing a gullible policeman they’re all actors in a film. Mazdak and Mehdi’s constant bickering wears thin, and only the beauties of the landscape, expansively lensed, hold interest until the more dramatic finale.

Story Undone

Iran-Ireland-Singapore

Production

A Hassan Yektapanah production (Iran), in association with LeBrocquy Fraser Prods. Ltd (Ireland/Singapore). Produced, directed, written, edited by Yektapanah.

Crew

Camera (color), Reza Rakhshan; music, Keyvan Honarmand; production designer, Yektapanah; costume designer, Ahmad Bakhshi; associate producer, Nikta Tayeban. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 7, 2004. Farsi dialogue. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Mazdak Taebi, Mehdi Baghaian, Mohamad Asadi, Peyman Jafari, Hassan Gol Mehdi Abadi, Yoosef Ghorbani, Loghman Naziri, Reza Jafari, Behrooz Moghadasi, Lotfolah Seyfi, I'lar Sharghi, Saeed Manshadi, Iman Esmaieelpour, Bahareh Soroosh.
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