A headstrong Iranian adolescent falls in love with an illegal Afghan worker in the concise social-problem drama “Heiran,” the first fiction feature from documaker Shalizeh Arefpour. Tale’s poignant expression of parental hopes, fears and disappointments will strike a universal chord. Marking the debut of a female directing talent, as well as the last perf by legendary thesp Khosro Shakibaei, here playing a gruff but kindly grandfather, the good-looking, well-acted pic should suit offshore fests and ancillary.
High schooler Mahi (Baran Kosari) lives with her extended family on a farm in northern Iran. After meeting poor but dignified Heiran (Mehrdad Sedighian) on the bus, she won’t consider any other suitors. Her parents, refugees from Abadan, are horrified, as they want her to go to college and make a better life for herself. But the lovesick girl pursues the orphaned youth to Tehran, where they wed in spite of her family’s opposition; Heiran gives up his student visa, and soon falls victim to the overwhelming challenge of trying to make ends meet as an illegal worker. Gorgeous lensing in autumnal tones adds to the story’s melancholy mood, as does the lush score.