Leila - 1996

Directed by Dariush Mehrjui

A young married couple, unable to conceive but eager to please what they believe the other wants, bow to the pressures of tradition and an overwhelming mother and agree that the husband should take a second wife in order to produce a child.

Color, 2 hours 9 minutes, Farsi

Watch Trailer (Farsi w/English subtitles), Watch Scene (Farsi w/English subtitles)

Star Rating


Firouzan Rank # 37

Cast


Leila Hatami Leila
Ali Mosafa Reza
Jamileh Sheikhi Reza's Mother
Mohammad Reza Sharifinia Leila' Uncle
Amir Paivar Reza's Father
Touran Mehrzad Leila's Mother
Vahideh Mohammadi Female Doctor
Faraj Ballafkan Hossein, Leila's Brother
Parya Zaraii Nazghol, Leila's Sister
Shaghayegh Farahani Bride
Leila Osniashri Reza's Sister
Pegah Ghotbi Reza's Sister
Mahbobeh Eskandiri Reza's Sister
Rushan Houshmand Reza's Sister
Peiyman Pegahi Leila's Brother

Crew


Writer Dariush Mehrjui
Director Dariush Mehrjui
Producer Dariush Mehrjui
Faramarz Farazmand
Director of Photography Mahmoud Kalari
Sound Recordist Asghar Shahvardi
Massoud Shahvardi
Production Designer Faryad Javaherian
Editor Mostafa Kherghehpoush
Mohammad Katirani
Sound Mixer Jahanghir Mirshekari
Kanran Soleimani
Music Keivan Jahanshahi

Pictures


Leila and Reza first meet as their families gather to make the traditional Sholleh Zard

Leila and Reza first meet as their families gather to make the traditional Sholleh Zard.

Leila's (Leila Hatami) self-reflexive moment, 'Three months later in November of that year I married Reza. On my birthday, I learnt I couldn't have children.'

Leila's (Leila Hatami) self-reflexive moment, "Three months later in November of that year I married Reza. On my birthday, I learnt I couldn't have children."

Leila's mother-in-law seemingly addresses the audience, 'How I wish to see Reza's son.'

Leila's mother-in-law seemingly addresses the audience, "How I wish to see Reza's son."

As the couple drives home, Leila can't help but notice a passing car filled with children - all boys.

As the couple drives home, Leila can't help but notice a passing car filled with children - all boys.

The couple turn both to medicine and to more traditional superstitions to alleviate their problem.

The couple turn both to medicine and to more traditional superstitions to alleviate their problem.

The overbearing mother-in-law once again chimes in, 'Be a lady, let him take another wife.'

The overbearing mother-in-law once again chimes in, "Be a lady, let him take another wife."

Reza (Ali Mosafa) has a difficult time convincing Leila that he does not want a child, despite what his mother says.

Reza (Ali Mosafa) has a difficult time convincing Leila that he does not want a child, despite what his mother says.

Preparing a Chinese dish for Reza.

Preparing a Chinese dish for Reza.

Leila gets a only a brief glimpse to gauge her approval of a potential second wife.

Leila gets a only a brief glimpse to gauge her approval of a potential second wife.

Leila sees Reza's child, Baran.

Leila sees Reza's child, Baran.

Leila's conclusion, '...she might laugh when she learns that if it hadn't been for mother's persistence she might never have been born.'

Leila's conclusion, "..she might laugh when she learns that if it hadn't been for mother's persistence she might never have been born."

DVD


Leila DVD Case

Purchase DVD at Amazon.com

External Reviews


By Stephen Holden The New York Times

The calculating monster who pulls the strings in Dariush Mehrjui's heartbreaking film, "Leila," is an imperious mother-in-law (Jamileh Sheikhi) whose selfishness and pride put her in the same elite league with some of Hollywood's most formidable gorgons. On learning that her daughter-in-law is infertile, this termagant who is obsessed with having a male grandchild to carry on the family line systematically undermines the marriage of her only son, Reza (Ali Mosafa). For the Iranian filmmaker, the situation illustrates the brutal clash between modernity and Islamic tradition in contemporary Iran. The movie, which has screenings tomorrow and Monday, is one of the most gripping and beautifully acted selections in this year's New Directors/New Films series. Continued

By Peter Rainer New York Magazine

As the young middle-class wife in the Iranian film "Leila" (at the Cinema Village), the actress Leila Hatami has an extraordinary look: Dressed in black, she has an ancient gravity, yet she wears her chador with a crisp chicness and her features are as fine-boned as any famished supermodel's. Leila is a living, breathing contradiction: a modern woman blurred into the most traditional of guises. The film, which was co-written and directed by Dariush Mehrjui, is about how Leila, with her own complicity, is pulled apart by the opposing forces in her life. Continued



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