As Simple as That

"As Simple as That" marks a milestone in current Iranian cinema as a rare realist depiction of a woman from the middle class.

With: Hengameh Ghaziani, Mehran Kashani, Nayereh Farahani, Haleh Homapour, M.J. Jafarpour, N. Hamdam Ali.

A nuanced portrait of a religious housewife in distress, “As Simple as That” marks a milestone in current Iranian cinema as a rare realist depiction of a woman from the middle class. Constituting a Persian “Diary of a Mad Housewife,” this quiet, observational drama from helmer Seyyed Reza Mir Karimi (“Under Moonlight”) nabbed film, script and actress gongs at the Fajr fest national competition. Although probably more resonant for domestic audiences, pic reps quality fest fare, and should travel further afield after its June international preem in competition at the Moscow fest.

Put-upon protag Tahareh (Hengameh Ghaziani) has a problem common to all classes of Iranian women, and indeed women worldwide: She’s suffering from a stressful routine so centered on husband, kids and home that she’s completely lost any sense of herself and fallen into depression.

Her self-absorbed hubby is an engineer who’s so busy that he doesn’t bother to tell her he’s changed the number of their joint bank account. Their two materialist-oriented children, a girl, 8, and a boy, six, 6, are hurtfully unappreciative of her efforts to cook, clean and coach them.

Beautifully shot in closeup and medium closeup, pic shows one dreary winter day of Tahareh’s life: preparing meals, washing clothes, shopping, taking her son to English class. Her little down time is constantly interrupted — by neighbors taking advantage of her good nature and possessions, or by a cockroach she has to kill to placate her screaming kids.

Small hints (a packed suitcase, desperate phone calls to the office of a clergyman to “consult the book”) indicate this is a day in which she plans to make a change, but circumstances seem to conspire against her. Her only solace comes from a few stolen moments writing poetry, visiting an old friend she meets by accident and giving advice to the older man she watches from her kitchen window.

The subtle script by Mir Karimi and Shadmehr Rastin and Ghaziani’s brilliantly sensitive performance make achingly clear how close to a breakdown Tahareh is. She seems most alive when recalling events from her youth, a time when life seemed simpler. The ambiguous ending can be interpreted in various ways.Precisely detailed tech package supports understanding of Tahareh’s inner emotions. For the film to be understood in the West, text will be needed to explain the practice of estekhareh, in which religious Iranians who want to know if a wish or a dream will find a favorable outcome ask a clergyman or trusted person to open a page of the Koran randomly and interpret whatever verse is there.

As Simple as That


Production: A Soureh Cinema Organization production. (International sales: Soureh Cinema, Tehran.) Produced by Seyyed Reza Mir Karimi. Executive producer, Mohammad Reza Mansouri. Directed by Seyyed Reza Mir Karimi. Screenplay, Mir Karimi, Shadmehr Rastin.

Crew: Camera (color), Mohammad Aladpoush; editor, Mir Karimi; music, Mohammad Reza Aligholi; set designer/costume designer, Shiva Rashidian; sound (Dolby Digital), Mehran Malakouti. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, May 28, 2008. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market, Moscow Film Festival -- competing, Fajr Film Festival -- national competition.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Hengameh Ghaziani, Mehran Kashani, Nayereh Farahani, Haleh Homapour, M.J. Jafarpour, N. Hamdam Ali.

More Film

  • Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and

    Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and Also-Rans, With Heavy Hitters on Deck

    Five of the last eight best feature winners at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars, including a four-year streak from 2013-2016. It was a steadily evolving status quo that led former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governor Bill Mechanic to question his organization’s [...]

  • Bo Burnham34th Film Independent Spirit Awards,

    Bo Burnham Wants 'Eighth Grade' Star Elsie Fisher to Direct Him

    Bo Burnham won his third award in three weeks for “Eighth Grade” at the Spirit Awards and said he wants the film’s 15-year-old Elsie Fisher to direct him. “I’d love to work with Elsie again,” Burnham said backstage after winning the Best First Screenplay trophy.  “She wants to direct so I’d love to switch roles [...]

  • Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive

    Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Director Was Cheated Out of an Oscar Nomination

    “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” screenwriter Nicole Holofcener offered a blunt assessment of the lack of Academy Awards recognition for director Marielle Heller, and women directors everywhere. “I feel Marielle was cheated and I feel badly about that,” Holofcener said backstage after winning a Spirit Award for screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Holofcener was originally attached [...]

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners: Complete List

    The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards took place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” taking the top prize for best feature along with best director for Jenkins. Ethan Hawke and Glenn Close took the prizes for best male lead and best female lead, respectively. Bo Burnham took [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Hated It! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Gripe About the Oscars

    Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content