Shokaran (Hemlock) (2000) - Behruz Afkhami


Plot: In the Spring of 1995, troubled factory owner Mahmoud worries about the financial state of his business. Then his partner Khakpour is seriously injured in a mysterious accident. Visiting Khakpour in the hospital, Mahmoud meets attractive Sima. Even though he is happily married, Mahmoud is drawn to Sima and visits her daily. But Islamic society forbids their affair unless they arrange for a temporary marriage. Mahmoud decides to temporarily marry Sima. After some time, Mahmoud tries to break their affair off, but Sima refuses to let him go.

Review: This drama from Iran offers a glimpse into an aspect of Middle Eastern culture and society that is little known (or understood) by most Americans. Mahmoud (Fariborz Arab-Nia) lives in a small town in Iran, where he's happily married to Taraneh (Rozita Gharfari), a dutiful wife who looks after his needs and comforts. However, Taraneh is about the only thing that's going right in Mahmoud's life lately; the factory he owns is in severe financial straits, and his business partner Khakpour (Hamid Reza Afshar) has been seriously injured in an auto accident in Tehran, several hours away from their hometown. Mahmoud is visiting Khakpour in the hospital when he meets a beautiful woman named Sima (Hedieh Tehrani); while Mahmoud makes it clear to her that he's a happily married man, Sima makes no secret of her interest in him, and as he spends more and more time looking after Khakpour, he finds himself frequently crossing Sima's path. Unable to ward off temptation any longer, Mahmoud agrees to a "temporary marriage" with Sima, an Iranian formality that allows men to sleep with other women without violating the culture's strict taboos against extramarital affairs. While Mahmoud tries to make clear that their relationship is indeed temporary, with a clearly delineated expiration date, Sima is not so willing to give him up, and her obsession with Mahmoud soon has unfortunate consequences. Shokaran was a major box-office success in Iran, and is one of the few adult-themed melodramas from Iran to find its way to American screens. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Genres           :     Drama
Running Time :     1 hr. 26 min.
Distributors    :     Iranian Film Society







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