Contemporary World Cinema | 2017 | 94 minutes
Stranger Says: Gholam is an Iranian living in a gritty part of London. He has two jobs, driving a cab and working in a garage, which offers little time for sleep. There is a group of people trying to recruit him to do something, but what it is isn’t clear. And he seems to be biding his time for something else. The whole situation is vague: Who is he? What happened to him in the past? Why has he left home? What does he want? Shahab Hosseini (star of the Oscar-winning The Salesman) has an engaging presence, and the film has a meditative quality that carries it along nicely.
SIFF Says:Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini is having a terrific year: First he starred in Asghar Farhadi’s Academy Award®-winning film The Salesman, for which he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes; now he gives a no less mesmerizing performance in Mitra Tabrizian’s debut film, Gholam. Gholam is an Iranian immigrant living in London, where he drives a cab and moonlights as a mechanic. An enigmatic figure, he is full of contradictions. He agrees to his mother’s plans for his return, but has no intention of actually going back. He eats at his uncle’s café every day, while fully aware of being betrayed by him. He lives a quiet life and generally tries to keep to himself. Nevertheless, one day he is approached by two mysterious Iranian men who remember him as a heroic soldier in the Iran-Iraq War and are keen to enlist him in their mission. Meanwhile, Gholam finds a mission of his own, through his friendship with an elderly woman in the neighborhood. Between these conflicts of the past and present, the future is uncertain.
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