Empty Nets (2023) Karlovy Vary 2023 | Special Jury Prize

July 2nd, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Wri/Dir: Behrooz Karamizade | Cast:Hamid Reza Abbasi, Sadaf Asgari, Keyvan Mohamadi, Pantea Panahiha | Germany/Iran Drama

Behrooz Karamizade’s stark feature debut hides a simple truth: being with the one you love shouldn’t be contingent on class, entitlement or money. Such is the case in many traditional societies where marriage is reliant on a dowry, and particularly in Iran that provides the sombre setting for this well-paced and compulsive contemporary thriller.

France’s answer to Pierre Niney, Hamid Reza Abbasi gives a soulful turn as Amir, an unfortunate young man from a poor family background who is madly in love with his upper class sweetheart Narges (Sadaf Asgari) but lacks the financial means to marry her after being fired from his menial job on ethical grounds; and later falls foul of his girlfriend due to her strict moral principles.

As is often the case with Iranian cinema strong writing trumps aesthetic appeal, but Karamizade’s skill in crafting a convincing narrative with authentic characters shines out showing him to be a talent in the making this a well-deserved winner of this year’s Crystal Globe Special Jury Prize.



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