Review: ‘A Cube of Sugar’

A fatal sweetener turns preparations for nuptials into quite another kind of gathering in Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi's latest offering.

A fatal sweetener turns preparations for nuptials into quite another kind of gathering in Iranian director Reza Mirkarimi’s latest offering, “A Cube of Sugar.” Spilling over with light and movement as the bride-to-be’s sisters, their husbands and assorted mourning kinfolk weave through interconnected rooms of the house and garden, Mirkarimi (“So Far, So Close”) posits family as an organic entity native to the countryside. Strangely, like a kinder, gentler “Rachel Getting Married,” this slim but vibrant pic could reincarnate abroad after fest play.

Little pockets of intrigue form within the kinetic congregation as in-laws dig for buried treasure, nephews tremblingly lie in wait for ghosts, and tensions bubble just below the surface in the form of delayed medical diagnoses and wistfully mourned old flames. Yet the mood is more contemplative and the atmosphere more fruitful than in the usual ceremony-fetishizing celebrations of countless bride-centric chick flicks. In one sequence typical of the film’s glowing pastel canvas, seemingly inspired by French Impressionists, Mirkarimi’s bride soars on a wooden swing, stretching toward a ripe apple she finally plucks and brings to her lips in her last moments of unfettered sensuality.

A Cube of Sugar

Iran

Production

A Soureh Cinema Organization production. (International sales: Soureh Cinema Organization, Teheran.) Produced, directed by Reza Mirkarimi. Screenplay, Mirkarimi, Mohammad Reza Gohari.

Crew

Camera (color, Super 16-to-35mm), Hamid Khozouie Abyaneh; editor, Hassan Hassandoosst; music, Mohammad Reza Aligholi; production designer, Mohsen Shahebrahimi. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (World Greats), Aug. 27, 2011. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Negar Javaherian, Reza Kianian, Saeed Porsamimi, Farhad Aslani, Asghar Hemat, Parivash Nazarieh, Soheila Razav, Heydayat Hashemi, Rima Raminfar, Negar Abedi, Pouneh Abdol Karimzadeh, Shamsi Fazlolahi.

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