Fatemeh Motamed-Arya takes best actress at
Montréal Film Festival in "Inja Bedoone Man"
critique by: Amir Nadimi
A poster for “Here without Me” pictures Fatemeh Motamed-Aray (C) and the main members of
the cast Negar Javaherian (R), Saber Abar (L) and Parsa Piruzfar (below)
A contemporary adaptation of Tennessee Williams' The Glass
Menagerie Bahram Tavakkoli's "Inja Bedoone Man" was
honoured with Fatemeh Motamed-Arya's best actress award
this past Monday.
Here Without Me (Inja Bedoone Man) was one among 6 other
Iranian films at this year's Montreal Film Festival. Other films
included were AMIN, 2010 / Colour - B&W/ 120 min, Dir.
Shahin Parham, AYNEHAYE ROOBEROO, 2011 / Colour / 102
min, Dir. Negar Azarbayjani and YE HABEH GHAND, 2011 /
Colour / 110 min, Dir. Reza Mirkarimi.
Although I didn't get a chance to see any of these other Iranian
films, Here Without Me served to remind the audience of the
rich content which has always been the hallmark of Iranian
cinema. Limited budgets and resources allow Iranian film
directors and screen writers to focus on script and content.
The portrayal of the characters in the film were unique and the depictions gave a glimpse into the souls of each of the charact. However, I
couldn't help to remark from the onset of the film as to why Motamedi-Arya's portrayal didn't seem as sincere as Abar's role as the son nor
Javaherian's performance as "Yalda" the daughter. In fact, both of these younger actors surprised me with their performance. Although
awarded as best actress at this year's festival, I couldn't help to notice Motamedi-Arya's disingenuous style. In fact not once was she actually
able to shed a tear during an emotional scene but she also carried the same general facial expression throughout critical scenes. I have not
had the chance to see Motamed-Arya's other roles, but couldn't say I was impressed at all with her acting style in this film.
Without discounting the numerous awards won in her other works over the past decade, it does leave one curious whether some political
motivation may have been behind the most recent honor bestowed on her at this year's festival. Having recently been banned from leaving Iran
for visits to the West due to her public support for 2009 Iranian Presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi and being a "proche" of Reformist
Ex-President Khatami may be factors in this year's prize. If memory serves well, it was just 2 years ago when the currently imprisoned and
celebrated director Jafar Panahi who sported a green shaul in support of Iran's Green movement was also honoured as head Juror during
the 2009 Montreal Film Festival.
Both Panahi and Motamed-Arya are talented individuals and highly regarded in Iran and worldwide for their works, however for a first time
viewer of Motamed-Arya's performance I must say that not only was I not impressed but I was left questioning whether she was recently
awarded best actress due to her acting calibre vis-a-vis other potential candidates or if Iranian politics may have also had a hand in the juror's
decision. In either case, Tavakkoli's adaptation was touching and soulful for what it's worth.