My Tehran for Sale -- Film Review

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SYDNEY -- Filmed on the sly in the streets of Iran, "My Tehran for Sale" gives an unauthorized peek at the oppressive Muslim state's underground scene and the muted rebellion of its youth.

As such, it scores points for freshness and innovation. But its splintered storyline and arty-to-the-point-of-pretension milieu mark it as fringe entertainment, best suited to the festival circuit where it is headed after its Toronto bow.

Iranian poet-turned-Australian-citizen Granaz Moussavi was moved to lift the curtain of familiar Western media imagery and tell a fictional, but intensely personal story based on a group of her middle-class friends living in her native Tehran.

Moussavi's close friend Marzieh Vafamehr stars as a stage actress named Marzieh, a strong, striking-looking woman struggling to reconcile her love of country with her desire for cultural freedom. She meets Saman (Amir Chegini), an Iranian with Australian citizenship, at an illicit rave and soon is plotting her escape from a life of secrecy and fear.

Set against a backdrop of rarely seen urban subcultures and a soundtrack of alternative Iranian music (featuring Mohsen Namjou, the "Bob Dylan of Iran"), Moussavi's low-budget debut is a fractured mosaic of scenes, jaggedly edited together from handheld digital footage smuggled out of Iran in the producers' backpacks.

Production company: Cyan Films
Cast: Marzieh Vafamehr, Amir Chegini, Asha Mehrabi, Mobina Karimi
Writer/director: Granaz Moussavi
Producers: Julie Ryan, Kate Croser, Granaz Moussavi
Director of photography: Bonnie Elliott
Music: Mohsen Namjou
Editor: Bryan Mason
Sales: Media Luna, Cologne
No rating, 96 minutes

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