March 11 2014 Latest news:
By Alan Davies
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Welwyn Garden City Film Society will be showing the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly later this month.
Those who saw Farhadi’s superb A Separation will want to see this predecessor, which won him the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010. It has the same intelligence, control and fine acting.
A group of married Iranian friends are on holiday on the banks of the Caspian Sea. Sepideh (the splendid Golshiteh Farahani) has invited along Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), her daughter’s nursery school teacher.
It’s a bit of a plot to introduce her to Ahmed (Shahab Hosseini from A Separation), who is on a flying visit from Germany, where he has just disentangled himself from a bad marriage.
Elly tells Sepideh she must return to Tehran, where her mother has been admitted to hospital, but Sepideh wants her to stay so hides Elly’s luggage.
Then one of the children of the party is almost drowned and Elly disappears.
The group are unsure whether she has also drowned or just returned home. The holiday is ruined and quarrels break out.
Why did Sepideh invite Elly? This is where the film takes on the aspect of a highly-emotional thriller worked out on a level that gives each of a dozen characters the chance to betray their attitude to Sepideh’s deception.
It is the mark of a really good film-maker that he can turn the screw this tightly and place the scene so accurately within the context of a different culture that, at base, seems much the same as our own.
Once again Farhadi has told an ordinary story in an extraordinary way.
All the WGC Film Society’s shows, some including a short film, can be seen at the Hawthorne Theatre at Campus West. About Elly is being screeded on Friday, February 21.
Half-price membership – just £15 and students £7.50 – can now be purchased covering the second half of the season. There is nothing else to pay for these shows.
Non-members may attend any screenings, as guests, for £5. All shows are on Fridays, and start at 7.45pm.
For information about joining, call the membership secretary, Anna Gladstone on 01727 842215, visit the society’s website at www.wgcfs.org.uk, or just pop along to any screening.