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PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

ABOUT ELLY

12:453:156:459:15

Through Tuesday, April 21

U.S. THEATRICAL PREMIERE

New 35mm print!

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ASGHAR FARHADI

From the acclaimed director of A SEPARATION (Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film) and THE PAST comes this mystery-thriller, set among a group of Iranian college friends visiting the Caspian Sea for a holiday weekend. As with Farhadi’s better known films, ABOUT ELLY concerns the affluent, well-educated, cultured, and only marginally religious members of Iran’s upper-middle-class. “Yet as in A SEPARATION, it’s not hard to detect a subtext: a critique of the lies and evasions that permeate Iranian society.” (Philip Kemp, Sight & Sound)  Elly, invited as a possible romantic interest for one of the newly single men, disappears from the group without a trace. The festive atmosphere quickly turns frantic as friends accuse one another of responsibility. Plot-wise, Farhadi’s drama has been compared to L’AVVENTURA; but the film is less concerned with Elly’s disappearance per se than with exploring the intricate mechanisms of deceit, brutality, and betrayal which come into play when ordinary circumstances take a tragic turn.

Note: The film was produced just prior to A SEPARATION, but due to rights issues, remained unreleased in the US until now.

IRAN / FRANCE • 2009 • 119 MINS. • IN PERSIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES  • CINEMA GUILD

Reviews

“Critics’ Pick. Devastating. Gorgeous to look at.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“This superb, suspenseful film opens as a playful comedy… but by the end has become a moral drama likely to corrode your certainties. The film grows more frightening and compelling as it goes.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

“The web of evasions and lies becomes as compelling as in any great suspense movie.”
– Amy Taubin, Artforum online

“A thriller perched right on the fault line between modern thinking and Islamic tradition.”
– Bob Mondello, NPR 

“Masterful. Further confirmation of Farhadi’s peerless skills as a dramatist, with a special talent for drawing prismatic meaning from simple premises and writing fully developed characters up and down the ensemble. Gripping. Richly imagined. Humane and largely non-judgmental.”
– Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

“A MASTERPIECE. The less you know in advance, the better.”
– David Bordwell, Observations on Film Art 

“OUTSTANDING. A subtle psychological thriller. Superbly acted, morally challenging, packed with legitimate suspense, this is film-making of a high order.”
– Philip French, The Guardian (UK)

“One of the most remarkable Iranian films to surface in the last few years. A small but compelling ensemble piece of surprising depth. One of those rare films that can be read on one level purely as a satisfying drama, but which also has a rich, independent inner life, centered on big questions about right and wrong, social coercion and the lies people tell.”
–  Lee Marshall, Screen Daily

“Farhadi’s camerawork mirrors this intricate complex of deceit, often roaming around the villa in long unbroken takes… Comparisons have been made with L’AVVENTURA (1960) but…Antonioni is largely indifferent to the dynamics of the group after their friend has vanished, while for Farhadi it’s the chief rationale of his emotionally devastating film… Farhadi is potentially the most powerful and individual voice operating within the Iranian film industry.”
– Philip Kemp, Sight + Sound