Film Review: Son-Mother (Pesar-Madar) (2019) - Iran [HKIFF45]
Reviewed as part of 45th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2021 by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
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Iranian cinema goes dark and the sense of constant hopelessness of the country’s state of being is added with deeper unresolved misery. Such is the premises of “Son-Mother”, by feature film debutant Director Mahnaz Mohammadi and written by veteran and the assuming Mohammad Rasoulof (“Manuscripts Don’t Burn” and “A Man of Integrity”). There is a linger of sadness that seems to continuously rebound as we are shown a story begins in the POV of the mother and young widow played by Raha Khodayari and ends with the young isolated son’s POV played by Mahan Nasiri, who is required to pretend to be deaf to stay at the deaf and blind school.
I am not entirely sure what is more sad as we witness an Iranian woman trying her hardest to juggle work and life and when her job goes out the window, she is left with a brutal choice to make. Either go into a loveless marriage with the work bus driver and be apart from her son or struggles financially to feed her son and newborn daughter. What makes this film so dark and unforgiving is that there are simply no redemption and in other words, no way out of the situation.
All in all, “Son-Mother” is a difficult film to sit through as we see how poor the country have been riddled with. The gap between the poor and rich gone haywire due to the decades of wars and gender roles struggles. It is the ultimately the weakest in society that suffers the most and this is another Iranian film that shows precisely this and not for a moment, do the director nor actors allow us to rest on our laurels. In doing so, the final image of the son looking out the window and simply starring, goes a thousand miles like the breeze of constant sadness awaits.
I rated it 7.5/10