The Law of Tehran: an impressive societal thriller (review)

The Law of Tehran: an impressive societal thriller (review)

Panorama of crack trafficking in Tehran through the mirrored portraits of a cop and a thug. A big uppercut, seen and approved by William Friedkin.

Arte devotes its evening to Tehran Lawof Saeed Roustayi. After this hard-hitting thriller filmed in 2019 and released in the summer of 2021 in France, the channel will offer a documentary retracing its production, but also its exceptional reception, and the political fallout of this film denouncing the abuses of which the Iranian people are victims. Once upon a time Tehran Law is already visible for free in replay.

Since its release, its director has been able to shoot a new contemporary film in Iran, Leila and her brothers, but his presentation at the Cannes festival earned him a prison sentence. Last summer it was sentenced to the prison closes. “Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted Saeed Roustayi and Javad Norouzbeigui, the film's director and producer Leila and her brothersto six months in prison”reported the reformist daily Etemad. The sentence is accompanied by a five-year ban on filming and on communicating with anyone active in the field of cinema.

Leila and her brothers: Awful, dirty and nasty with an Iranian twist (review)

Here is our review of Tehran Lawto be (re)watched this evening on Arte:

Just 6.5the international title of Tehran Lawrefers to the 6.5 million crack users in Iran today, where addiction to “pebbles” seems to be getting more and more massive every day. A scourge which is accompanied by a local legal specificity: whether you hold 30 grams or 30 kilos, the sentence will be the same: the death penalty. Which explains why, even if it means losing everything, some traffickers prefer to play big… So much for the documentary context, which forms the background of this second feature film by Saeed Roustaee, 32 years old.

The dramatic argument revolves around the war of nerves between an obsessive police officer and the bigwig he has just defeated. The mirrored portraits of a cop and a thug are an old thriller thriller, here dynamited by the setting where most of their confrontation takes place: a stifling prison, overpopulated with drug addicts, shown as a kind of zombie horde dazed. Amazing scenery which offers Roustaee the opportunity for striking crowd scenes.

The entire film is also striking for its extremely inventive use of locations, such as this marker of traffickers taken over by the police at the beginning of the film. To get in, the cops have to break down a door, then another, and yet another… The film proceeds in the same way, constantly adding new layers to its story, nuances, new layers of meaning, to better get through from the in-your-face thriller to the psychological study, then to the societal fresco. Impressive.

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