77' 2019 Iran director: Bahman Kiarostami cinematography: Davood Maleki editing: Bahman Kiarostami production: Bahman Kiarostami
The devaluation of the Iranian rial as a result of Western sanctions has led to a massive outflow of Afghan migrants from Iran. One of the requirements of the complicated exit procedure is to speak with an official, who has the right to refuse to let anyone who doesn’t meet certain requirements (such as single women) leave the country. Bahman Kiarostami (the son of one of Iran’s most famous filmmakers) observes a major transit point where thousands of Afghans who want to return to their country are gathered. His vigilant camera shows us a breathtaking procession of colorful characters—workers, teenagers, drug addicts—who are often forced to come up with some sort of scheme in an effort to get permission to leave. From the stories extracted by officials—inquisitorial and paternalistic at the same time—emerges a multilayered picture of the problems facing Afghan society, and not just in exile. The film’s strong points include dynamic editing and the excellent idea to use a musical leitmotif that links the beginning and end of the film.