SOBHI DIGAR (ANOTHER MORNING)
Iran, 2006, 90 minutes, Colour.
Directed by Nasser Refaie.
Another Morning is a slow-moving and demanding film – but one which repays viewing. It is the portrait of a man who loses his wife, a grieving man who, from an ordinary way of life, working in an office, becomes almost immobilised in his grief.
However, the film was also a portrait of contemporary Teheran and Teheran society. The grieving man wanders throughout the city, a range of encounters with people, both rich and poor, who have an impact on his life. It also is an evocation of the range of life in Teheran. However, it is also a critique of the way of life, the social difficulties that are to be found in the city and in Teheran society: social issues of robbery, pick-pocketing boys, drug addiction, prostitution, women making advances, the observation of urban conflicts, university student debates, seeing the police in action, the sales of drugs on the streets, the sale of pornographic videos, newspapers and censorship.
The director, Nasser Raffaie, also wrote and directed the short but very effective film about girls going to school for their exams, The Exam.
1.The impact of the film? A portrait of a grieving man? A portrait of Teheran society as the man moves through it?
2.The film considered as an allegory of life in Iran at the beginning of the 21st century? The man grieving and almost sleepwalking through life? His interaction with all the crises in daily life?
3.The Teheran setting, the city, the highways, the houses, the streets? The cemetery? The offices? The blend of the old and the new? The musical score?
4.The title, its evocation of the humdrum and routine life of Kamali?
5.Kamali, middle-aged, ordinary, working in the office? The grief at the funeral? The family gathered round him, the old man and his weeping, the sympathy of the other members of the family? Their visiting the cemetery, gathering as a group around his wife’s grave? Their laments? Their coming to his house, his observing them later and not joining them? His finding their grief and their presence oppressive?
6.Kamali, going to work, his immediate boss in the office, their talk? The higher bosses? Their apologies for not coming to the funeral? Their sympathy for him, inviting him to meals, his standing in the background, trying to join in? The promotions of people at the office – and his not being promoted? His courtesy towards the other employees, his giving the lift home to the women, the attractive woman and her visit to the office – and his discovering that she was married? His continuing to do his routine?
7.Kamali at home, his having to cope, making his meals, cleaning the house, doing the washing and the machine breaking down? His going through the motions?
8.The nature of his grief, depression, his silence? His hardly speaking throughout the film? His weeping at home? Looking at his wife’s photo, getting out the older photo with her alive and laughing? His looking at the videos of the wedding? His finding her dress, putting it on the bed? The continued memories?
9.His going out and about, driving? His observing people? Not being able to help – the addict lying in the street, the woman that he didn’t give a lift to, the woman whose bag was snatched, his pursuing the cyclists and their mocking him, his not being able to go any further?
10.The audience watching daily life in Teheran through him? The Islamic republic and its surface respectability? Under the surface? The social issues of robbery, the boy pick-pocketing on the train, drug addiction, prostitution? The woman in his car and making advances? His observations of the urban conflicts, the student debates – and his running with the students to the bookshop and their repression? The drug deals on the streets, the man trying to sell him pornographic videos? The newspapers and censorship?
11.The issue of the lottery, his being tempted to buy the ticket, the pressure, his eventually buying the tickets – and his checking the numbers, his not winning anything?
12.How effective a portrait of a middle-aged man and his suffering the death of his wife, her memories, his grief? Trying to cope and finding it difficult?
13.How interesting a portrait of Iran from the inside, sympathy, critique?