To have addressed in her latest film, A MAN of integrity, the systematic corruption in his country, the director Mohammad Rasoulof risk six years in prison.
Never a movie will also be well worn in his title, A MAN of integrity. Can I remain a man of integrity and reject the endemic corruption that gangrene each pan of the Iran of today: companies, local authorities, police, justice, education, banks and insurance companies ? Can we even decide not to play the game and try to change the system ? Obviously not, since the filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, because of the subject matter of his film was confiscated his passport last September. He faces a sentence of six years in prison for endangering national security. The director denounces clearly not tackling corruption, but more subtly, through his hero Reza (Reza Akhlaghirad).
Reza is the head of a small business breeding fish freshwater, for which he is heavily in debt. He tries not to give in to pressure to sell his land to a large private company. All means are, however, good to start afresh Reza, who came to Tehran to settle in the area with his wife Hadis (Soudabeh Beizaee), director of the school of young girls. He cut the water essential to farming, he has poisoned his ponds. He sends the guy to threaten him and even the mayor advised him to sell. But like David against Goliath, Reza tries to react legally. He wants to be neither corrupt nor corruptible. It pays its penalties to the bank rather than pay a bribe to circumvent them. He sells his car to not go into debt advantage. In sum, it resists and refuses to submit to the system, and to give in to blackmail and fear.
“Go see A MAN of integrity, a film to be a discreet and powerful, it is also do work of a political act.”
This is of course all to his honor not to let go. However, one of the strengths of A MAN of integrity is to show precisely that the honour and dignity – values that still have a great importance in this part of the globe – should not turn into pride and stubbornness. Especially when his wife and young son are also involved in this kafkaesque situation, at the peril of their lives. Because of the pressure and the confinement in which Reza is gradually, under the gaze désapprobateur of Hadis, he makes them commit errors. Alone against all, stubborn, viciously, in the face of such an injustice, his rage inner will to express them. His anger is going to hit the representative of the Company. This is the beginning of the gear dramatic of hell.
The success of A MAN of integrity also comes from the decision of the director not to make his hero a nice man at first. Reza is not friendly, doesn’t smile and has a pretty high opinion of himself. As often in iranian films, the pace is slow and the characters communicate rarely with their feelings. The actors were even prohibited from touching and the love between husband and wife is subtly shown by the director through the exchange of glances or a veil taken away precipitously in the bedroom.
However, the empathy of the viewer is solicited with modesty when Reza disappears from time to time. It lives in the source water of a cave, a glass in the hand of a nectar of watermelon, which he has patiently made. Seen recharge there, to think, to suffer and even cry. And only then, you will be touched by his crack, and all my heart with him. Because everyone can recognize these experiences of exclusion, when all is collapsing around itself, and that only the silence and the crying may soothe, before returning to face the problems.
Water is omnipresent in the film : source of life, but also death to the fish of the livestock, and a metaphor for his problems in which he is drowning to save his company. We won’t tell the end of the film, if this is only going to see A MAN of integrity, a film to be a discreet and powerful, which was awarded the Prix un Certain Regard at the Cannes film Festival this year, it is also do work of a political act.
The distributor ARP Selections has launched an online petition for the freedom of expression of the filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof:
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• Achievement : Mohammad Rasoulof
• Screenplay : Mohammad Rasoulof
• Main actors : Reza Akhlaghirad, Soudabeh Beizaee
• Release Date : December 6, 2017
• Duration : 1h58min