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TERRESTRIAL VERSES

Opens Friday, April 26

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WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALI ASGARI AND ALIREZA KHATAMI

In Tehran, a new father seeks to register the name (insufficiently Islamic, he is told) of his newborn son; a 20-something rideshare driver caught on camera without a hijab attempts to retrieve her impounded car; a man with poem tattoos applies for a driver’s license; an elderly woman pleads with the police for the return of her beloved dog. This taut, pulsing drama — composed of nine deceptively simple, single-take vignettes, each featuring an ordinary Iranian citizen facing an unseen bureaucrat — brilliantly incarnates the absurdity, hypocrisy, and seeds of defiance that belie authoritarian control.  

2023     77 MIN.     IRAN     KIMSTIM     IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Trailer

TERRESTRIAL VERSES

Opens Friday, April 26

Reviews

“A thoroughly modern work of bracing concision, elegance, and blistering deadpan humor.”
– Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

“A series of striking snapshots of everyday oppression in Iran…punchy first-person filmmaking… The cast is uniformly excellent, especially given the rigors of a presentation which provides the actors with literally nowhere to hide…we end up parsing the subject’s every flicker of expression, every subtle shift in body language and every hesitation in reply, for cracks and weaknesses. And we almost don’t realize we’re doing it, so subtly are we insinuated into the position of the power-holder in an interaction with the relatively powerless. Grips across its starkly elegant stanzaic form. And though co-writers and directors Khatami and Asgari are clearly on the side of the ordinary oppressed Iranian, perhaps their film is especially powerful in giving us the discomfiting view from the oppressor’s chair.”
– Jessica Kiang, Variety

“Icepick-precise vignettes about the petty bureaucracies of working-class life in Iran…these stories give off a powerful cumulative effect.”
– Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire

“Finds bureaucratic comedy and tragedy in modern Iran. Through their concentrated and pared-down survey of institutional power, Asgari and Khatami show foremost how no behavior and social practice is spared the state’s gaze, and personal autonomy — especially for those outside the elites — remains only a myth.”
– David Katz, The Film Stage

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