Masud Kimiai was one of the foremost Iranian directors before the Iranian Revolution. His best films were collaborations with the best Iranian actor of that era, Behrooz Vosoughi. They parted ways after seven successful movies which made a huge impression on the Iranian cinema. Their parting of ways coincided with a sharp drop in quality of Kimiai's films and coincidentally with Kimiai switching from B&W to color films. Their second collaboration, Gheysar, was a turning point in the history of Iranian cinema and start of the "Iranian New Wave".
Now, exactly 40 years after Gheysar, for his 27th film, Kimiai has gone back to his roots. Trial on the Steet is shot in a washed down sepia/b&w in digital format. Even the film's music closely resembles that of Esfandiar Monfaredzadeh who was a key team member in his pre revolution films.
It is with great relief to report that after so many false dawns, Trial on the Street is the real thing and is a resounding success. It is undoubtedly Kimiai's best work since Gavaznha (The Deer) and by far his best post revolutionary work.
It could be that a key to this success is the involvement of Asghar Farhadi, the talented writer-director of Fireworks Wednesday and About Elly, in writing the script. Although Kimiai is a master in writing dialogue, his recent films have been structurally weak and this is perhaps an area where Farhadi has lent a helping hand. The other factor is having top actors in supporting roles: Niki Karimi, Mohamad Reza Foroutan, Shaghayegh Farahani and Hamed Behdad bring a lot of depth and resonance to the supporting roles and take the film to a higher scale.
In the main role, Kimiai's son, Poolad Kimiai, gives his best performance to date in the role of Amir, a young man on his way to his wedding ceremony when he gets a call from a friend informing him that his bride to be has in the past had a relationship with a married man which had even led to an abortion. As Amir sets out to find the truth before the ceremony, the film cuts in to another story involving another man whose wife is running away with his business partner. The two stories are then joined together with a common protagonist.
Trial on the Street is gripping from start to finish and features plenty of Kimiai's legendary dialogue. It is strikingly photographed and boasts perhaps the best ensemble performances than any of Kimiai's films. Welcome back Mastero!