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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

‘About Elly’: An Enthralling Iranian Drama About a Mysterious Seaside Disappearance

Movie poster for the Iranian film About Elly starring Golshifteh Farahani and Shahab Hosseini

“About Elly” (“Darbareye Elly”) is a dynamic and enthralling Iranian psychological drama from 2009 about three families, consisting of several former law school classmates, who journey to the Caspian Sea for a three-day vacation. With the best of intentions for her friend Ahmad (Shahab Hosseini), a divorcee visiting from Germany, Sepideh (Golshifteh Farahani) brings along her daughter's teacher Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti) in order to introduce the two.

Unable to access the seaside mansion initially reserved for the occasion, the extended group temporarily occupies a deserted beach house nearby. As spirits rise and the weekend’s festivities begin to unfold, Elly and Ahmed display restrained interest in one another, as burrowed passions slowly simmer and uncoil. Yet when Elly is asked to watch over several children on the beach the following day, she furtively disappears entirely—inciting a cacophony of panic, bewilderment and fierce recrimination amidst the extended group members.

Written and directed by renowned Persian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”, “The Salesman”), “About Elly” is an profoundly riveting affair, playing out as a bold amalgamation of urgent mystery, striking human drama and revealing cultural exposé. Delving into some of the more factious aspects of Persian culture, not to mention the often capricious nature of human interaction, it’s another humanistic masterpiece from one of the most assured filmmakers on the global cinematic landscape.


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