Directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh
Official Selection, 2017 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Chicago International Film Festival
“They” is J’s pronoun. At 14 years old, J is undergoing a hormone treatment to pause puberty, the onset of a gender identity, and adulthood. Like Peter Pan, J has escaped time’s flow – they are hovering between moments. “They” is also everyone else, who we see through J’s eyes: J’s sister Lauren, a young artist endlessly bouncing between residencies, a glamorous but inherently unsettling lifestyle; and Lauren’s fiancé Araz, an Iranian student in America so between worlds he’s considering going back to Iran just to see a dentist.
THEY is the first feature of Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, an artist-filmmaker long acclaimed for her short films. A protégé of Abbas Kiarostami and Jane Campion, Ghazvinizadeh brings remarkable sensitivity, humor, and even suspense to her film of in-between states. As we move from J’s home, a delicate world of horticulture and wandering cats, to Araz’s bustling family party, the enchanted feeling of suspended time remains. Performances like Nicole Coffineau’s pitch-perfect rendering of “Young Artist 2017,” and the YouTube-driven dance routines of Araz’s family, keep the ethereal poetry of THEY grounded in rich, tangible material. –Lev Kalman