20 Fingers - 2004
Directed by Mania Akbari
This 2004 digital release consists of seven self-contained vignettes that depict the conversations and arguments typical of contemporary Iranian couples at different stages in their relationships. Though some of the details and situations may be specific to Iran, many of the conversations could take place in any country. The couples' various discussions cover topics ranging from love and fidelity to gender roles and abortion.
Color, 1 hour 12 minutes, Farsi
Trailer currently not available, Watch Scene (Farsi w/English subtitles)
|Director of Photography||Turaj Aslani|
|Sound Recordist||Mohammad Shahvardi|
|Sound Mixer||Seyyed Mahmoud Mossavinejhad|
The film marks the directorial debut of artist turned actress Mania Akbari. She also plays the female role in each relationship.
Most of the vignettes take place in some mode of transportation and consist of a single continuous shot. The candid conversation of the first vignette is captured in silhouette.
Bijan Daneshmand plays the male role in each vignette. His character in the second story is unhappy that his girlfriend danced with another man while they are on a ski trip.
As the couple ascends the ski slope, Mania Akbari's character defends her actions.
The third vignette, which takes place almost entirely on a moving motorbike, is the most consequential of all the film's discussions. The husband in this instance wants his wife to go ahead with her pregnancy in hopes of having a son to join their daughter for a "perfect pair." The wife wants an abortion due to her concerns that they can't afford a proper upbringing for the child.
In the fourth vignette, Daneshmand's character listens to his counterpart's story about a seemingly happy couple that stays together despite the infidelity of both parties involved.
At an Italian restaurant, the female of the film's fifth pair recalls how when she was young she wished she was a boy because of her family's ever present hopes of having a son.
In the sixth vignette, which takes place on a train, Daneshmand's character voices his displeasure over the fact that whenever he is away from home and one of his wife's girlfriends visits, the girlfriend's husband accompanies her.
The female of the train vignette reveals that her male counterpart should be less concerned with the girlfriend's husband and more concerned with the girlfriend herself.
In the final vignette, the shortest of the film, the couple can't agree on the course they should navigate in their small boat.
By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid
Painter-turned-actress Mania Akbari (the driver in Abbas Kiarostami's "Ten") makes her directorial debut with "20 Fingers", and it's no small achievement. Yes, it's simplistic -- the film comprises no more than ten single shots -- and it may be just a tad overwritten, but it's powerful, wrenching stuff. Originally conceived as seven vignettes about different couples, Akbari decided to play in all of them herself, alongside Bijan Daneshmand ("Munich"), each of them exploring various facets in various stages of various relationships. Continued
By Deborah Young Variety
A provocative and fairly uncensored look at how urban men and women relate in today's Iran, "20 Fingers" gets points for boldness but few for originality, however spicy the dialogue might seem in the Mideast. Film is a derivative of Abbas Kiarostami's far more masterful reflection on woman's place in Iranian society, "Ten." Nonetheless, Mania Akbari, the sassy main actress in "Ten," makes a directing debut that will get talked about for breaking many post-revolutionary film taboos. Scant visuals and mucho dialogue will slow offshore sales, but, after opening Venice's new digital sidebar, pic should receive more fest bids. Continued
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