CANNES: An Iranian film noir about an academic who returns home after two decades in the West to a family and country he no longer recognizes has made a splash at Cannes.“A Respectable Family,” the feature film debut of the 39-year-old Tehran-based documentary maker Massoud Bakhshi, is rooted in the director’s own experiences as a teenager growing up during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.
“It’s not an autobiographical film, but it was inspired by real-life events from the lives of people around me,” he told AFP after a screening in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight sidebar section. “I’m talking about a generation that lived through the Iran-Iraq war, a war that changed the destiny of my generation.”
The picture tells the story of Arash, whose family breaks up when his teenaged brother is killed in the conflict. His violent father commits his grief-stricken mother to an asylum and brings home a second wife and her son.
The action opens in contemporary Iran, where Arash, a college professor, is invited home after 22 years in Paris to teach in the southwestern city of Shiraz where his elderly mother now lives.