Tehran: City of Love
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Three lovesick individuals struggle to repair their battered self-images and find romance as this tragicomic triptych plays out across the weddings, funerals, beauty parlours, and gyms of Tehran. One is a woman self-conscious about her weight (Forough Ghajabegli) who catfishes men into bogus dates where she watches their reaction from afar. Another is a personal trainer and former bodybuilding champion (Amir Hessam Bakhtiar) who attempts to balance his commitment to a new ambitious pupil with a promised role in a film with Louis Garrel (who is conspicuously and suspiciously unseen). The third is a dejected and morose-voiced funeral singer (Mehdi Saki) who transitions into weddings to impress a woman.
With precisely staged and framed vignettes of urban heartache, and impressively subtle physical performances from all three leads, Ali Jaberansari’s film resounds with generosity for its characters. At once a work of empathy for lonesome singles and a story about finding and preserving dignity, Tehran: City of Love’s title rings both with irony for its gloomy heroes and a genuine love for their comic flaws and inner strength.