Tehran: City of Love
Three misfits disappointed in love and life—an ex-champion bodybuilder passing his prime, an ice-cream-loving receptionist at a beauty clinic, and a professional funeral singer with the gloomy mien to match—yearn to connect in this darkly funny and subversively queer take on contemporary Iran. The titular city of love must be located in the county of loneliness and absurdity: Mina is catfishing patients, Hessam is spotting his handsome weightlifting trainee a little too intently, and Vahid’s girlfriend just dumped him because he’s too much of a downer. But with some Botox here, a relationship seminar there, a cheerier color of suit, maybe this lovably hapless trio can transform themselves and get their love requited.
Containing all this messiness is the sublime symmetry of director Ali Jaberansari’s compositions, which also serve as a metaphor for the censorship he faces. He may be artistically boxed in, but his brilliant, balanced frames and deadpan dialogue amplify undercurrents of power and rebellion—physical, sexual, and emotional—that are swirling within this darkly funny anti-romcom that heralds a subversively queer new wave in Iranian cinema.
— LUCY LAIRD
Eye Carumba Optometry
- Language: In Persian with English subtitles