A commotion in a jeweler’s shop: the indistinct contours of two men locked in a fight can be seen, then there’s the sound of several shots – with this scene filmed in a single take Jafar Panahi’s third feature film begins. It recounts the story of what led up to the robbery. Riding along on the moped of popular pizza delivery boy Hossein, the viewer makes a socio-topographic excursion through the Iranian capital – from the poor south to the prosperous north, from the city’s bazaar-filled street life to the chic boutiques. For Hossein these are sojourns into an alien and inaccessible world. When he tries to buy jewelry for his fiancé at a luxury jeweler’s the owner humiliates him. When he delivers pizza to a former comrade with whom he fought side by side in the Iran-Iraq war, his old pal fobs him off with an over-generous tip. One of Hossein’s trips brings him to a house where the police break up a party just because people are dancing there. Hossein’s stay in a luxury apartment which was abandoned by its owners shortly after completion to go abroad comes across as almost surreal. Bit by bit Talaye sorkh turns into a picture of a broken-down society which, in the eyes of its baby-faced hero, seems like an absurd play.
by Jafar Panahi
with Hossain Emadeddin, Kamyar Sheisi, Azita Rayeji, Shahram Vaziri