London Film Festival 2012 – day seven: A Respectable Family
You can almost tell from the title that the family will turn out to be the opposite of respectable.
Gradually, through bureaucratic difficulties as he tries to retrieve his passport to leave the country at the end of his contract, and through flashbacks to his childhood, we discover the devastating threads that still bind him to the family he had to escape from.
There may have been war and revolution, but the real danger comes from those nearest to him, and their amoral tendencies and techniques of manipulation for the dirtiest reason, money.
Arash is guarded and wary, a stranger in his own land. Except for him, the men in his family seem to have inherited a Machiavellian, or simple thuggish streak, while the women are driven to neurosis. His nephew Hamed gets things moving, but doesn’t reveal how. The film becomes more engrossing as the past and present fall into place, piece by piece, and we are shown the full extent of what a layer of power and respectability can hide when it closes in around Arash.
Arash keeps his cards close to his chest throughout – we know nothing of his life abroad, and so the film’s gently ambiguous ending has enormous impact.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.
Watch the trailer for A Respectable Family here: