The Salina Art Center Cinema announces their upcoming film, The Persian Version, showing this Friday, November 10 to Wednesday, November 15. Tickets can be purchased purchased online or at the box office.
Director Maryam Keshavarz’s colorful, often hilarious autobiographical feature is an American assimilation story without the ponderous messaging and oppressive tone of many such films. Not that the family and romantic travails of twenty-something Leila (Layla Mohammadi in a confidently charismatic performance) lack meaningful drama. But Keshavarz maintains a light touch, even as she makes sharp points about the prejudice and alienation faced by Iranian-born families in America.
The central dynamic is the frosty relationship between Leila and her career-driven mother Shirin (Niousha Noor), who became the breadwinner of a large family (Leila and eight brothers) when she and her doctor husband emigrated to the U.S. and he wasn’t allowed to practice medicine. Shirin quickly learned English, earned her GED, and became a real estate agent, rapidly advancing in the profession and making Leila’s lack of ambition more egregious. Her lesbian relationships haven’t met mom’s approval, either, and when Leila gets pregnant from a one night stand with Max (Tom Byrne), that seems unlikely to change.
About halfway through the film, Keshavarz shifts focus from Leila to Shirin, revealing much of her history in flashbacks (including an arranged marriage to an older man when she was 13) and partially showing what shaped her perspective on her daughter’s uncomfortably “Western” ways. It helps develop sympathy for both sides of the mother-daughter conflict, and it’s this open-hearted approach that allows this film to be serious and light-hearted, sharply satiric but often rude, crude, and laugh-out-loud funny.
It’s a movie with smart insights into cultural imperialism and generational discord—but can also conjure scenes like a joyful group dance to a cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” or Leila defiantly sporting a “burka-kini.”
Starring: Layla Mohammadi, Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafiesabet
Rated R for profanity and sexual content | 107 minutes
In English and Persian with subtitles
Film descriptions are written by friend and cinema supporter, Dave Cooper.
The Persian Version
Now Playing November 10 - 15, 2023
Friday | 6 PM & 8:30 PM*
*8:30 Late Night Showing Tickets only $8
Saturday-Sunday | 2 PM & 6 PM
Monday-Wednesday | 6 PM
$12 General Admission
$10 Students & Seniors
$8 SAC Members
Friday Late Night showing @ 8:30 PM: all tickets only $8