×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Before the Storm

Exploring the unexpected ways in which the past can haunt you and a world rife with incompatible moralities, "Before the Storm" is an emotionally loaded, accomplished feature debut from Reza Parsa. This strongly scripted and well-played treat convincingly employs thriller elements to make its heavyweight agenda palatable. Born in Iran but based in Sweden for 20 years, director Parsa, still in his 30s, is ideally placed for a dispassionate take on the traumas of a bicultural existence. With its lack of sensationalism and sentimentality, pic could provoke Euro arthouse interest. It took the runner-up Silver Shell for directing and the Youth Prize at this year's San Sebastian fest.

With:
Ali - Per Graffman Clara - Maria Lundqvist Sara - Sasha Becker Jenny - Anni Ececioglu Leo - Emil Odepark Danne - Martin Wallstrom The Courier - Nasrin Pakkho Johan Sander - Claes Ljungmark Leo's Mother - Tintin Anderzon Ali's Former Wife - Mina Azarian Ali's Son - Ashkan Ghods

Exploring the unexpected ways in which the past can haunt you and a world rife with incompatible moralities, “Before the Storm” is an emotionally loaded, accomplished feature debut from Reza Parsa. This strongly scripted and well-played treat convincingly employs thriller elements to make its heavyweight agenda palatable. Born in Iran but based in Sweden for 20 years, director Parsa, still in his 30s, is ideally placed for a dispassionate take on the traumas of a bicultural existence. With its lack of sensationalism and sentimentality, pic could provoke Euro arthouse interest. It took the runner-up Silver Shell for directing and the Youth Prize at this year’s San Sebastian fest.

Of Middle Eastern origin, Ali (Per Graffman) is a cab driver in provincial Sweden who has finally achieved an ideal of domestic happiness with wife Clara (Maria Lundqvist) and daughters Sara (Sasha Becker) and Jenny (Anni Ececioglu). One day his past catches up with him in the shape of the Courier (Nasrin Pakkho), an old woman from his homeland — script is careful not to identify the country — who goes around with her eye-patched grandson and refers to Ali as “The Captain” because of his guerrilla exploits in the homeland.

Intercut is a story about 12-year-old Leo (Emil Odepark), a classmate of Sara’s who is being bullied by older boy Danne (Martin Wallstrom). Ali encourages Leo to take a stand, whereupon the boy steals a gun from his cop mother (Tintin Anderzon) and, in a well-played scene in the woods outside town, shoots Danne.

Sara, meanwhile, has received a “present” from the Courier that turns out to be a videotape of Ali’s kidnapped former wife (Mina Azarian) and son (Ashkan Ghods), with the wife’s severed finger and wedding ring. Ali has until now believed them dead. Wife and son will die, the Courier says, unless Ali assassinates a Swedish industrialist, Johan Sander (Claes Ljungmark), who is helping the regime back home.

Parallels between the two tales of violence and submission are not overdone. Script is content to point out that power games exist at every social level, from the local and domestic to the global, and that the two are not easily disentangled.

Perfs are good across the board. Graffman’s Ali, though rightly understated as a man who has learned to hide his past and retain his equanimity in the face of catastrophic memories, is a little too low-key. As Clara, Lundqvist explores a wide range of emotions, though it is hardly believable that she should have remained so ignorant of Ali’s past. As Leo, 12-year-old Odepark has the maturity to carry off his half of pic. A lyrical score teases out the emotions beneath the script’s harsh surface.

Before the Storm

Sweden

Production: An Illusion Film/Film i Vast/Felicia Film/Per Holst Film/Norsk Film production in association with SVT Drama, TV1000, RUV, MTV3. (International sales: Nordisk Film, Copenhagen.) Produced by Peter Hiltunen, Johan Falemark. Directed by Reza Parsa. Screenplay, Parsa, Mikael Bengtsson.

Crew: Camera (color), Egil Bryld; editor, Louise Brattberg; music, Peter Lundback; art director, Lena Selander; sound (Dolby Digital), Wille Persson-Berger. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (competing), Sept. 24, 2000. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: Ali - Per Graffman Clara - Maria Lundqvist Sara - Sasha Becker Jenny - Anni Ececioglu Leo - Emil Odepark Danne - Martin Wallstrom The Courier - Nasrin Pakkho Johan Sander - Claes Ljungmark Leo's Mother - Tintin Anderzon Ali's Former Wife - Mina Azarian Ali's Son - Ashkan Ghods

More Film

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

  • Oscars Nominees Popular Movies

    Oscar Best Picture Race Dominated by Box Office Winners

    This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ill-fated popular film Oscar category could have just as easily been dubbed “best picture.” That’s because the crop of movies vying to take home the top prize represents the highest-grossing group of best picture nominees in nearly a decade. The eight films in the category [...]

  • Isabela Moner Marcel Ruiz Rosa Salazar

    Variety Announces 10 Latinxs to Watch 2019

    Variety has announced this year’s 10 Latinxs to Watch, and has also selected the Miami Film Festival as a partner for the annual celebration of promising talent in the Latino community that will include a panel and film screenings. This year’s honorees are Isabela Moner (“Dora the Explorer”), Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Bird Box”), [...]

  • New Regency Launches U.K.-Based International TV

    New Regency Launches International TV Division With Scott Free Alum Ed Rubin

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-producer New Regency has launched a London-based international TV division, recruiting former Scott Free exec Ed Rubin to run the new operation and hiring Emma Broughton from The Ink Factory (“The Night Manager”) as head of scripted. New Regency produced “The Revenant,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.” It recently opened up shop [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content