It never ceases to amaze me that despite all the wealth, experience and tradition of American cinema, it seldom matches the depth and humanity of the best Iranian films. Asghar Farhadi’s family drama A Separation, for instance, won an Oscar in 2012. I can’t think of many films which combine so successfully deep moral issues, intricate plotting and painfully realistic human drama.
If you don’t have the patience to endure 90 minutes of subtitled cinema, check out Thursday Appointment, a 2-minute film about poetry, traffic, child poverty, the wisdom of old age, good marriages, bad marriages, empathy and kindness. It was made by another of Iran’s genius directors, Mohammad Reza Kheradmandan.
It opens with an elderly couple making their way through traffic and reciting to each other a poem by Hafez, a Sufi mystic whose verse is the supreme achievement of Persian literature.
A good short film is a kind of cinematic haiku which leaves you breathless with its insight. Have a look.
A few other shorts by Kheradmandan are also available on YouTube. Mother is only one minute long. It’s a kind of Valentine to Mum. Child & Man is two minutes and has almost no dialogue or action. It’s sort of about littering, but really about fatherhood. The one-minute cartoon Father is a surrealistic and powerful tribute to the vocation of fatherhood.