mahnaz afshar

Any romantic comedy that does not rely on gender essentialism is always a good one in my book. Yusef says men don’t cry and he is told that yes they do… and then he does and it makes me sad.

I realized I was engaging in some bad thinking while watching the movie - oh their gender roles aren’t that different from Americans’, oh this could be an American movie… I wasn’t letting the movie stand on its own.

No. It is better than most American romantic comedies. There are a few cliches (Ahmad the bad friend telling Yusuf to be a jerk, to be a domineering husband) but nope, it is a damn good film. Though the subtitles are white with no border, only a few words are hard to read. They are in comic sans, which will probably make the film bad for many people!

Sayeh is more independent, more developed, than the average woman in an American movie. And unlike those career women (I don’t know how she does it, for example), she doesn’t have to choose between family or marriage and her career. Having a job leads to some “second shift” fights, but no “I neeeeeed a baby” nonsense.

It was really refreshing. I don’t know why I added it to my Netflix queue, but I’m glad I did. And watching movies like this reminds me of why I like Netflix. I will not go searching the not-so-legal movie channels for an Iranian movie. I generally go in with a title in mind. (Though I do want to explore Sominal’s offerings.) Same with Netflix Instant - it bugs me that in every article about streaming, there are people complaining that the selection is bad, it’s mostly old stuff and foreign stuff, blah blah blah. That is exactly why I like it - it’s not hard to find Rango or Tangled online, but it is to find “A Pain in the Ass (L'emmerdeur)” or “101 Reykjavik” or “Only Human”.

I like exploring.

Back to Ceasefire. This, not the Iranian films that show suffering, is what Americans need to see. Not that Persepolis is bad, but we need a balance. That won’t happen, a Middle Eastern romantic comedy? Getting acclaim? I mean, Yusef is never told he is a bad Muslim, neither is Sayeh, oh my this doesn’t show the real Iran.

Anyway. This is a great movie - the changes in tone from silly fights to real fights isn’t clunky. And the character growth isn’t either. The sad parts don’t ring false.

Best non-Bollywood romantic comedy I have seen in a while. I was nervous about it, since the Netflix description says it “tackles gender inequalities in Iran” which sounds like award bait… but it also says it’s a romantic comedy… and that implies that awards ignored it.