Inversion – Film Review
Director: Behnam Behzadi
Writer: Behnam Behzadi
Stars: Alireza Aghakhani, Sahar Dolatshahi, Roya Javidnia
In this film, we get to see a slice of the daily life of Niloofar (Sahar Dowlatshahi). She is not what you would expect from a woman living in Tehran, the capital of Iran. She is a successful business woman running her own tailoring business, which employs a small number of local women. She is a glamorous woman who never married, and she lives with her elderly mother Mahin (Shirin Yazdanbakhsh), a feisty and humorous old lady. When she learns the news that her mother has had respiratory failure, she rushes to the hospital. Her mother survives the attack but is very weak and remains in hospital. Tehran is having massive problems with pollution, and large clouds of smog hang over the city. Their Doctor recommends that her mother leave Tehran for good, to find a place with cleaner air. Slowly it becomes clear that the rest of the family expect Niloofar to give up her life and job, to travel with her mother!
This is a film by Behnam Behzadi who has previously directed over 20 films such as The Rule of Accident (2013) and We Only Live Twice (2009). This new film gives us a view of Tehran which we don’t expect, it shows a vibrant modern city and their bustling lives. It also shows how Niloofar is treated as the only single woman in the family. It is taken for granted that she will give up everything to travel with her mother. There is a level of sexism on display, but if we are being honest, if the film was set in Ireland it is unlikely to be any different. It is the style in which the decision is made for her, and what happens to her business that is the most shocking.
The film can feel a little mundane at times, and Niloofar’s mobile phone is constantly ringing which has a very annoying ring tone! Despite this, the film does slowly drag you in. You live in hope for an outcome that will not involve her leaving her life behind, while the tide slowly drags her along. It is a subtle film that gives a good insight into family life and values in another part of the world. They’re not what you would expect and his modern and complex woman is an unusual heroine for an Iranian film.