FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY (Asghar Farhadi, 2006)

Reminiscent of Delbert Mann’s films in the U.S. in the 1950s (Marty, The Bachelor Party), Asghar Farhadi’s Chaharshanbe-soori is simplistic and melodramatic—yet another instance of how unrewarding cinema can be when it is plot- and character-driven. With all the great films coming from Iran, how does this downcast, “slice-of-life” mediocrity about a housemaid’s domestic travails rank a best film festival prize in Chicago? If this is the sort of Iranian cinema that plays in Chicago, it should only stay there.
     Just two points. One, all the hifalutin camera angles are purely decorative; there is scarcely a single expressive use of film in Fireworks Wednesday. Secondly, it’s in color. Why? Today, processing laboratories are set up for color, so filmmakers use color as a matter of convenience, to save expense. However, color—like any other artistic element—should be used only when there’s a specific reason for it. There is no reason for Farhadi’s use of it in his miserable little film. Color contradicts what puny artistic purpose Farhadi can lay claim to. Black and white would have served the material better. (Does someone like Farhadi even care?)
     As long as I live, nothing will motivate me to see anything else by Farhadi—certainly not something so schematic as a piece about a soon-to-be-married taking in at work how poorly a marriage can turn out. (As if she otherwise didn’t know?)
     Isn’t it funny how movies often turn out like marriages?

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