Dir/scr: Fardin Saheb Zamani. Iran. 2010. 92mins
Iranian film There Are Things You Don’t Know is not without a certain simple charm, with the performances – especially from the female cast members – impressive, buts its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival is let down by its one-note plot and poor subtitles.
As a journey it is a rather straightforward one…mildly interesting but thankfully over relatively quickly.
The story of late-night shift taxi driver Ali (Ali Mosaffa) and the various passengers he picks up in his rather tatty taxi has some intriguing elements – he falls for one woman who is a regular customer and dips into the lives of others – but all of the drama is implied off-screen. As a journey it is a rather straightforward one…mildly interesting but thankfully over relatively quickly.
The script tries to imply Ali is a taciturn but intelligent character, though the tone of his limited conversations doesn’t really tally with that proposition. Ali Mosaffa is appropriately still and restrained as the driver, though in truth needs a little more help from the script to give his character more sense of drama.
At least Leila Hatami is effective and memorable as the regular passenger who gradually gets closer to him. The fact that Hatami and Mosaffa are married in real-life, and have acted together before, gives the film a sense of genuine warmth.
Also impressive is Iranian actress Mahtab Keramati as Ali’s friend from university who seems to want to be close to him, but is set to marry another person. Other characters weave in and out of the plot as Ali drives through the mean streets of Tehran – not a great deal happens, though there is talk about police pressure, drug deals and earthquakes, while Ali’s home life seems to involve him making coffee and adopting a stray cat.
Production company: Documentary & Experimental Film Center, Bamdad Films
International sales: Iran Independents, firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer: Manljeh Hekmat
Cinematography: Houman Behmanesh
Editor: Fardin Saheb Zamani
Production designer: Kamyab Amin Ashayeri
Music: Amir-Ali Vajed Samiei
Main cast: Ali Mosaffa, Leila Hatami, Mahtab Keramati