Over a decade ago, the Romanian New Wave was put on the map with Cristi Puiu‘s “The Death of Mister Lazarescu.” It was a drama that unfolded a cross a single evening, following its titular protagonist through the medical system. Now, gearing up for its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival, “Disappearance” is a similarly flavored film, but with a entirely unique perspective.
Directed by Ali Asgari, and starring Sadaf Asgari, Amir Reza Ranjbaran, Nafiseh Zare, Sahar Sotoodeh, and Mohammad Heidari, the story follows a young couple in Tehran facing a medical emergency, and their increasingly desperate journey to find help. Here’s the official synopsis:
On a cold winter’s night in modern Tehran, a couple of young lovers run into a serious problem, and they have just a few hours to come up with a solution. They go from hospital to hospital in search for help, but none of the hospitals will admit the young woman and provide her with the medical attention she desperately requires. While they try hard to find a way to solve the problem, they have to hide what is happening from their parents. Moreover, their relationship is facing a crisis and will suffer dire consequences. Caught between conservative traditions and modern day desires, the couple must face their uncertain future.
Asgari endeavors to explore the conflict of tradition and contemporary mores in “Disappearance,” which he explains in his director’s statement:
In this film I am going to show the picture of a young generation, in a semi-traditional society, struggling to discover its identity. I like the audience to think about the lack of communication and effects of family limitations. Nowadays, the majority of the older generation in Iran likes to respect the traditions, while at the same time the majority of the younger generation is trying to overcome these same traditions, and the differences between these two points of view create a lot of conflicts and stories. These stories have always been important for me, especially because I experienced this kind of situations myself. I have tried to narrate them in my previous short films and some of the characters I created are still alive, and their stories are not yet finished in my mind. I would like to explore them some more.
“Disappearance” hits Venice, and will make its North American premiere at TIFF. Check out the exclusive trailer and poster.