NO DATE, NO SIGNATURE
Directed by Vahid Jalilvand
Best Director, Best Actor, Orrizonti, 2017 Venice Film Festival
Best Director, 2017 Fajr Film Festival
An eight-year-old boy dies from botulism after eating stale meat his father purchased cheaply under the table. Or did he die from trauma caused by an auto accident? A forensic pathologist who had hit a boy with his car the night before starts obsessing over which is the case and becomes increasingly entangled with the victim’s family, struggling to figure out the true cause of death as a way of repenting for his own culpability.
The father, for his part, is dealing with guilt of his own, and doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the doctor’s pursuits of the truth. In trying to exonerate the father’s guilt, the doctor may be interfering with the family’s own grief. And in his own quest to deliver justice, the father makes choices with consequences he will have to live with forever. What motivates these two men’s equal and opposite reactions propels this meditative drama, director Vahid Jalilvand’s second feature.
The gorgeous cinematography and cool color tones show us an Iran where the educated and less-privileged classes collide – quite literally – through their different expressions of and responses to guilt and grief. –Wilda Wong