Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Sixteen-year-old Golsa (dazzling newcomer Negar Moghaddam), an only child residing in a Tehran suburb with her distracted, wannabe upwardly mobile parents, takes every opportunity to escape her stifling home life. One night while hanging out with her so-called friends—all from families more well off than her own—the group decides to rob a grocery store just for kicks. They succeed—but then realize they have left the security-camera footage behind. The group gangs up on Golsa and forces her to retrieve the footage. But when she does, she hides it at the stable where she takes dressage lessons rather than turning it over to her friends, an act that sets in motion a chain of events that will change her life as well as the lives of many around her…
Pooya Badkoobeh’s ambitious, beautifully acted and gorgeously shot work belies the fact that this is his first film. The moral ambiguity at its centre—Golsa is never particularly sympathetic and her actions have damaging consequences—demonstrates the maturity of focus and the thematic consistency of a veteran filmmaker.
"An ethical tale for a new era… Dressage powerfully illustrates the consequences of growing social divisions within contemporary Iranian society and indicts a middle and upper class that have lost their moral centre… Working with ace DP Ashkan Ashkani (A Man of Integrity), the [director] takes advantage of numerous night scenes to underscore the oppressive atmosphere in which his characters exist."—Alissa Simon, Variety
Best First Film, Fajr 18