Review: ‘Tedium’

"Tedium," alas, proves worthy of its title. A mix of docu and fiction, this feature bow by Iranian theater helmer Bahman Motamedian is a poorly structured mix of talking heads and awkwardly staged action.

One of two surprise films added to the Venice fest lineup at the last moment, “Tedium,” alas, proves worthy of its title. A mix of docu and fiction, this feature bow by Iranian theater helmer Bahman Motamedian is a poorly structured mix of talking heads and awkwardly staged action that shows the personal lives of Iranian transsexuals and their problems vis a vis their families and strict Islamic society. Pic will have trouble escaping the shadow of a much more effective docu on the same subject, Tanaz Eshaghian’s “Be Like Others.”

In Iran, gender change is legal, but public transvestitism is problematic. Pic’s characters include six men who identify and dress as women and one young woman who crosses the other way. It’s not clear how many of the younger men have medically switched gender. “Sissi” refuses to, asking, “What rights do women have here?” The older Maryam has some regrets about undergoing the operation; she misses her former job as a truck driver, and her grown son refuses to let her attend his wedding. The clumsy editing never finds a cogent rhythm, but DV lensing is fine.

Following its Venice premiere, pic’s English title was changed to “Sex My Life.”

Tedium

Iran

Production

(International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by Esmaeil Mizaei Ghomi, Bahman Motamedian. Directed, written by Bahman Motamedian.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Homayoon Paivar; editors, Behzad Mosleh, Motamedian; music, Iman Vaziri; production designer, Jalil Shabani, costume designer, Navid Farahmarzi. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Horizons), Aug. 28, 2008. Original title: Khastegi. Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Ashar Nejad, Ghavi Bal
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