Cafe Setareh - 2005
Directed by Saman Moghadam
The overlapping tales of three women who live in a poor Iranian neighborhood unfolds before the audience by revisiting certain plot points from different perspectives. Each revisit reveals new incite into the characters' motivations and struggles. The story centers around the people who frequent the Cafe of the title and play important roles in the lives of each of the main three female characters.
Color, 1 hour 42 minutes, Farsi
|Director of Photography||Bahram Badakhshani|
|Sound Recordist||Iraj Shahzadi
|Editor||Mohammad Reza Moini|
Fariba (Afsaneh Baygan), owner of Cafe Setareh and title character of the film's first act must put up with her abusive and unemployed husband Fereydoon (Shahrokh Forutanian).
Khosro (Hamed Behdad), a patron of the Cafe already unhappy with Fariba's husband for his failure to deliver a promised work visa for Japan, is sent into a rage when he finds out that Fereydoon has gone too far.
After his confrontation with Fereydoon takes a turn for the worse, Khosro seeks help from his best friend Ebi (Pejman Bazeghi). The two decide it would be best if he left the country. This is what Khosro had hoped to do even before the trouble with Fariba's husband.
Saloumeh (Haniyeh Tavasoli), the title character of the second act, cares for her semi-blind father who is well respected in the neighborhood. She hopes to gain his blessing for marrying Ebi. Ebi is hesitant to propose because he fears his current economic situation is insufficient to provide for a family.
Saloumeh's "sophisticated" friend chatters on about the faults of men once they become husbands.
One of Ebi and Saloumeh's many late night rendezvous on the rooftop.
After finally asking for Saloumeh's hand in marriage, Ebi turns to crime to pay for the wedding. He thinks that Saloumeh not only deserves but also desires a life of luxury.
The third act revolves around Molouk (Roya Teimourian), a single landlady who hopes to find a husband. After getting a promising prediction of romance, she sabotages her own satellite dish in a ploy to get the attentions of Khosro.
Making the preparations for her "date" with Khosro.
After events in the neighborhood take a turn for the worse, Ebi decides he must do what he can to prevent the spread of bad news.
By Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times
Saman Moghadam's "Cafe Setareh" paints a compassionate triple portrait of three women living in an ancient, shabby but picturesque pocket of Tehran. Moghadam's pacing leisurely suggests that this neighborhood exists in a time warp, even though it is endangered by urban development and most of its people are struggling to survive.
A filmmaker of considerable subtlety who presents the same events from the differing perspectives and stories of his three main characters, Moghadam celebrates the strong sense of community in this tiny neighborhood, views its inhabitants' naivety with affectionate humor and laments their hardships - especially those of the women, with their second-class status. Continued
By Robert Koehler Variety
The itch for change felt by three women living in a poor Tehran neighborhood is palpably expressed in Saman Moghadam's finely nuanced "Cafe Setareh." The rare film equally influenced by Quentin Tarantino, Jean Renoir and William Saroyan, this time-winding triptych has a deep humanist sense and a feel for working-class folk whiling away the hours. Pic also reminds that, in a country theoretically oppressive of women's full expression, Iranian cinema is second to none as a delivery vehicle for rich dramas about women. Solid local B.O. last August may be matched Stateside, if a wider aud can be tapped.
After a striking title shot lensed through a goldfish aquarium, opening section, "Fariba," reps the most conventional of the three parts. Cafe Setareh's owner, Fariba (Afsaneh Baygan), barely holds the biz together as her boozing, unemployed husband Fereydoon's (Shahrokh Forutanian) sponges off her. Continued
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