Letter from Persia

Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, "Letters From Persia" is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature director Rambod Lotfi.

Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature director Rambod Lotfi.

Maria (Noemi Demjen), who was evacuated with her Hungarian mom (Kati Rak) at an early age at the start of the Iran-Iraq War, is now a first-year student at Budapest’s Economic Sciences U. when she discovers some letters proving her father is still alive in Tehran.

Home life isn’t much fun. Mom is having an affair with her boss, her slob uncle (Karoly Eperjes) can’t hold down a job, and her grandmother (Hedi Temessy) , though sympathetic, won’t confide in her. With the help of a friendly Persian studies prof, Maria heads out to rediscover her native country.

Film follows a well-beaten path of such stories, with Maria slowly adopting Muslim dress, fantasizing about Iran and her dad, and generally moping around a lot. Iran is presented as an idealized place of the imagination, and little attempt is made to explore the real differences and similarities between Iran and Hungary — the two countries that shape her identity.

As Maria, Demjen evinces a sulky beauty, but not much more. Other actors are OK, with Eperjes contribbing his standard Depardieu-like perf. Technically, pic is standard, with some pretty Iranian location footage.

Letter from Persia

(HUNGARIAN-IRANIAN)

Production: A Movi Helios Studio, Avisen Film production. Produced by Andras Toth-Szollos , S.N. Hejazi. Directed by Rambod Lotfi. Screenplay, Lotfi, Gere Mara, from Lotfi's novel, adapted by Azis Szohilla.

Crew: Camera (color), Peter Vekas; editor, Judit Kollanyi; music, Mohammed Reza Aligoli; art direction, Istvan Takacs; costume design, Zsuzsa Partenyi; sound, Istvan Polhossy. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 8, 1995. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Noemi Demjen, Kati Rak, Karoly Eperjes, Szolltani Jahanbaks, Hedi Temessy, Lili Monori.

More Film

  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

    Film Review: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • Rose Byrne

    Film News Roundup: Rose Byrne in Talks to Join Tiffany Haddish's 'Limited Partners'

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • Cher and Meryl Streep'Mamma Mia! Here

    How the Cast of 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Geeked Out Around Cher

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • 'BuyBust' Review

    Film Review: ‘BuyBust’

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • John Malone

    John Malone, Scott Paterson Retiring From Lionsgate Board

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Parent's Stock Plunges Again to Record Low

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

  • Timothee Chalamet

    Timothee Chalamet in Talks to Star in Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'

    Across-cultural drama about an Iranian teen in Hungary who finds out her dad is still alive back home, “Letters From Persia” is a fitfully interesting item let down by a poorly developed script and film school technique. Pic may travel minimally on its cultural authenticity, but otherwise is a mixed calling card for first-time feature […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content