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In this adaptation of the critically acclaimed debut novel by Iranian American author Dalia Sofer, a secular Jewish family is caught up in the maelstrom of the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

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Septembers of Shiraz movie full length review - Informative but unpleasant.

"Septembers of Shiraz" is a well made and very well acted film...but I cannot see many people wanting to see it for several obvious reasons.

First, it's about the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and a lot of people just don't find this a 'sexy' subject for films. Second, no matter how how do such a film, people will find fault in how the Revolution is handled. Third, and most importantly, the film is incredibly unpleasant with scenes of torture...and a lot of folks don't want to watch someone being tortured. All these conspire to make this a difficult film to say the least.

The film begins as the Revolution is beginning. No context whatsoever is given to the viewer--nothing about the previous brutal regime of the Shah nor about the ideology of the Ayatollah and his followers. All you really learn is that the Shah was awful and the people who followed were awful. I know more about it because I am a retired history teacher...but the average viewer, particularly younger ones, will feel a bit confused. I think the reason they did this related to the second problem above...and so they apparently tried to make the film as apolitical and a personal film as they could instead.

The story is about a Jewish family and their particular experiences during this time. The husband, Isaac (Adrien Brody), is arrested...though you never learn exactly why. It seems as if he was arrested simply because he was rich and he undergoes both mental and physical torture from the new Republican Guard. During this time, his wife (Salma Hayek) waits and waits and watches everything they owned get stolen from thieves...all in the name of the Revolution. Will the husband be released and what of the family?

I noticed some folks complained about this film because the look wasn't just right--such as the wrong sorts of cars being shown in Iranian roads. Well...considering it was NOT filmed in Iran, and I STRONGLY DOUBT the government would have allowed this, this sort of complaint seems bizarre at best. The film was made in Bulgaria...and I guess they tried their best. I'll say no more about this.

Overall, the film is very well made and compelling...and unpleasant. Because it is a story about a real family, however, I cannot just dismiss it. It's worth seeing IF you are up to the task.