26 May 2007 | corrosion-2
The Lives of Three Iranian Women under one roof
Saman Moghadam, director of Cafe Setareh (Star Cafe) is one of the most commercially successful of directors currently working in Iran. His films, up to now, have mostly been lightweight affairs mainly aimed at the younger generation. With Cafe Setareh, however, Moghadam has changed course, going for a much more serious and mature subject, perhaps to gain more recognition and credibility as a serious film maker. To this end, he has succeeded admirably. Cafe Setareh is a very satisfying film which has proved both a critical and commercial success.
The movie is divided into three parts, each revolving around a different female character. The lives of these characters, however, are intertwined, with the underlying theme being the current favourite theme in many Iranian movies: what it is like to be a woman in today's Iran.
Fariba (Afsaneh Bayegan) runs a café while looking after her old mother, unemployed younger brother and her husband, a petty criminal. Saloumeh (Hanieh Tavasoli) occasionally helps Fariba with her book keeping and is looking for a way out of her lonely life with her blind father. The best way out to her, appears to be marriage to the young mechanic living next door. Molouk (Roya Teymourian) is Saloumeh's landlady. She's an old spinster forever falling in love with younger boys and dreaming of marrying one of them. An act of crime changes the lives of the these three women in different ways.
Many of the occurring events are repeated, each time from the perspective of a different character, a la Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. The performances of the three leading ladies are excellent. The direction is assured and the script is very inventive. Cafe Setareh firmly establishes Saman Moghadam as one of the leading Iranian directors and is a continuously intriguing and entertaining film. Highly recommended.