Synopsis by Nathan Southern
A railroad worker of limited educational background undertakes a solemn journey of self-discovery in Iranian director Maziar Miri's poignant psychological drama Gradually. . .. Mohammad-Reza Foroutan stars as Mahmoud, a husband and father whose young wife, Pari (Niloofar Khoshkholgh), struggles with severe emotional problems. One workday, Mahmoud, whose job places him scores of miles from his family, receives the despairing news that Pari has vanished from home for more than a week, left their little daughter with her parents, and absconded with the downpayment on their house. Determined to relocate Pari, Mahmoud sets out to search for her, cross-country. Though he harbors a seemingly depthless capacity for love and compassion, he finds his ambitions and devotion to Pari directly challenged by the narrow-mindedness, suffocating judgment, and bigotry of everyone who learns of his plight, and he even resorts to incorrectly identifying a corpse at the local mortuary as Pari in order to rid himself of the stigmas that he carries as an "abandoned husband." In the end, Mahmoud must ultimately learn to listen to his own heart and disregard the social prejudices that surround him. The history of Gradually. . . is a bit rocky: circa 2005, director Miri reportedly emerged with an earlier version of the picture to devastating reviews that castigated the lack of narrative clarity; the director then reedited the work, submitted it to the Fajr film festival, and garnered one of the top prizes in the international competition.
search, mental-illness, prejudice, stigma, working-class