Fireworks Wednesday

Movies, Drama
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Fireworks Wednesday

The title refers to the celebration that precedes the Persian New Year, and the fireworks—forever crackling in the background—provide a constant stream of aural unease to this slow-burning story of marital discord. Soon-to-be-married cleaning woman Rouhi (Alidoosti) is pressed by suspicious housewife Mojdeh (Tehrani) to spy on a hairstylist (Bahram) who may or may not be having an affair with Mojdeh’s husband (Farokhnezhad). Perhaps not the sharpest tool in the shed, Rouhi never seems quite clear on her allegiances, and as she carries out various tasks for Mojdeh—such as picking up her son from school—she’s in chronic danger of spilling the beans.

Farhadi and cowriter Mani Haghighi (the latter of whom directed the 2006 head-scratcher Men at Work) could have tightened the script by limiting it to Rouhi’s point of view; they prove to be stronger on atmosphere than on structure, aided by crisp, unnerving camerawork. Few Iranian films seen stateside—with the exception of Jafar Panahi’s Crimson Gold (2003)—have provided such a vivid feel for urban Tehran, or such a stark, credible glimpse into everyday lives. Perhaps Fireworks’ greatest asset is its rigorous observation of the unity of time: As day passes into night, so Rouhi passes into maturity.

By: Ben Kenigsberg

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Cast and crew

Director: Asghar Farhadi
Screenwriter: Asghar Farhadi, Mani Haghighi
Cast: Hamid Farokhnezhad
Hedye Tehrani
Taraneh Alidoosti
Pantea Bahram
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