Prone toward comic entertainments, writer-director-star Mehdi Fakhim-Zadeh opts for a serious and woefully obvious statement about society’s misunderstood in “Soul Mate.” Helmer’s return to the bigscreen after a 10-year absence stresses broad playing, plain wrap staging and blunt, black-and-white characterizations. Although some may want to gaze at their chai leaves and read a political meaning into his contempo fable about a pair of star-crossed lovers who suffer from mental illness, filmmaking and conception are too unsophisticated for any deep thinking. U.S. distrib Iranian Film Society is handling film in Farsi-only version theatrically, with late-June rollout of subtitled version on DVD.
After spending some time in a mental institution, kindly but quick-tempered Behrouz (Fakhim-Zadeh) flees from his brother’s home when he’s threatened with being forcibly returned to the facility. He happens upon the children of hard-working single mom Shirin (the usually vibrant Roya Nonahali) and takes them home. When Shirin sees how Behrouz has tidied up her abode, it’s a short step toward love — and operatic trouble for the couple.