Thursday, December 24, 2009

About Elly (درباره الي) (2009)

Director: Asghar Farhadi. Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahb Hosseini, Merila Zare'i, Taraneh Alidoosti. 119 min. Iran. Drama.

Lying. Some would merely ignore it as an acceptable sin. About Elly shows how it can undermine the entire infrastructure of a society. People lying to each other randomly, over the most mundane issues, without understanding the consequences of their random acts, or how their simple lies disastrously change the chain of events for others. And when they make a feeble attempt at honesty, they break into coughing spasms, or prick their fingers. The final scene, showing 7-8 people unable to move their drowning car out of the sand, is a powerful allegory on how dysfunctional this society has become.

Mo says:


  1. Life is full of situations in which you have to make Right Decision. And which one is right decision: Telling a troublesome truth or a convenient lie? Standing for life with all of its problems or giving up by choosing an easy death? Which one is better: An endless bitterness or a bitter ending(just as Ahmad tells Elly somewhere in the movie)? Really hard to answer.

  2. It seems Elly's views and actions had a stronger effect on you, rather than the people around her. Her friends' reactions to what she did attracted me more.

  3. Yes, I had already predicted their reaction, maybe due to being involved with all disabilities of this society who is going on lying. But the reaction of Elly(s) always stays unpredictable and interesting. At the same time this society before evaluating its own acting and its faults, gives itself the right of judging anyone else. You ask yourself at the end: Was she really guilty or not?

  4. Hmmmmm. Now you're making me feel weird. Can you believe I never even thought about whether Elly was guilty or not? But you are absolutely correct: Elly's motivations are the main subject.

    Maybe the reason I never thought about this, was because I easily judged her as being guilty, and then erased her from my mind.

    I guess this film can work very nicely as a Rorschach test. Do we (as viewers) ever even care about Elly? Do we care what her problems were in the first place?

  5. Spoiler Alert!!
    Elly was the symbol of a girl involved with many problems such as her mother's sickness, problematic relationship with a partner, being a girl! .
    the movie may notice about the main issue in mid-level living in Iran which is trying to be happy and live easily!
    also it mentions about the authority of some people on the other or husband on wife.
    it shows how sometimes a person who wants to do what he/she has in mind may cause a terrible situation.
    may be Elly was the victim of prejudice thoughts, the debt which "Golshifteh" may had about Ahmad to do something for his marriage!
    the most irritant point was that totaly they were worry about her fiance's reaction rather than missing her!

  6. Exactly. After reading Farzaneh's analysis, I feel bad that I too was more worried about Elly's finacee than Elly herself. Some movies can really mess up your mind.

  7. As Farzaneh said : The filmmaker put audience in all main & minor (9) character’s places to judge & action It means after watching movie , you ask yourself : If you were in Eli’s position what did you do ?Quit or clarify an unpleasant relation called fiancee or anything else at first and then start the new one …or covering old & new relation at the same time ,like what she did ? My verdict for Eli is like Mohsen.
    What about Sepideh (G. Farahany ), whether she should follow basic honesty’s rule that : truth should be always said when its time comes up and something like “ White lie “ doesn’t exist at all,…or…for getting friends out of trouble and for many reasons seem apparently logic at that time! , must lie or same justified -lie ?
    ...also about other characters , one by one.
    I agree with Niloofar : very simple & common issue in our environment.
    You all noticed what a beautiful mind storm movie made about :
    if majority of guys agree on a decision, it means the decision is correct ?It’s moral ? It must be done ? …. The trend that regularly followed in the movie: holding poll for any decision by the guys and acting based on the dominant vote !
    The mainly accepted way in any society &ideology these days : The vote of majority.

  8. The more I discuss this movie, the more I realize its hidden messages. I never noticed how it's only the males in the story who decide which issues need to be voted on. That's probably because I thought it was already a given: Only men decide the course of democracy. Very interesting.

    As I said, the movie is a Rorschach test. You find new realities about yourself after watching it.

  9. i cant stop thinking about the movie, because i feel like i cant judge the people invovled as i identified with them so much. I felt like that i may have made the same decision if i was in their position. so the movie really does make you think about yourself and your actions,
    the lies and the decisions that the group made seemed to be generally what any other person would do at that time.....thats why this is movie is so perfect, because it took a very simple situation that highlighted our actions and showed its consequences, the actions that sometimes we took for granted.

    I am also puzzled by the situation with elly. yes she was pursued by sepideh to come to the trip, but as peyman said in the movie, elly was the one who made the decision in the end to come.and she was the one that lied to her fiance.on the other hand, no one can ignore the social pressure, as elly seemed like a girl who could not stand up for herself , not infront of the fiance she did not love or infront of sepdieh.

    the last scene and sepideh's lie also makes me wonder. she made all those well intentioned lies that she thought were okay cover up, but when she wanted to tell the truth she could not cuz it was partly her lies that put her friends in this situation with the angry fiance. so she had to lie again to save her friends. that is kinda paradoxical.
    and the ending scene with the car, at first i thought it means that they are still stuck in waht happened. but now that i think about it, it seemed that they were trying to move on (car=movement) however, sepideh still could not let go...
    i love how everyone has a different interpetation of the movie....proves that there are many points that this movie makes.
    what makes it interesting is that the movie does not answer big philosophical questions...rather it asks us questions.

  10. Dear Anonymous,

    I wish I knew who you are! You're comments are quite interesting! :-)

    I think your last sentence is your best point. When the movie ends, you're left with a HUGE number of questions. One of my relatives recently saw the movie, and at the end, asked: "So what was this all about?!"

    I said: That's the point! The movie forces you to ask all these questions on your own. Why did Elly die? Was it voluntary? Or did she drown by mistake? Why was she with the other people on the trip? What went on between her and her fiancee? What was Sepideh trying to hide? And why? Etc etc etc ...

  11. Dear Mohsen,
    I had to go as anonymous cuz I dont have any other profile, but my name is Dorna:)Nice to meet you:)

    I know what you mean. I love this movie cuz it did not make a general statment such as " this is why this happened," " this is their/his/her fault" " ...but rather, it showed us the complexity of life and that there is no one answer for what happens, and that what happens is a result of collecitve actions and choices that we all make.

    Sometimes when I watch hollywood movies, i feel like i am watching a overdramatic portrayal of life and that these stuff dont really happen in real life. But when i was watching this movie, i felt like this is exaclty life! it was not a movie, it was a segment of life recorded on camera.

    my friend said that all these points that the movie makes about lying, the relationship between man adn woman, judgment, are all very fundamental part of life and everyone knows about them, so why are they the main point of this movie when we all know about them. I told her, yes we all know about them but how many times in a day do we think about them? we take these aspects of life for granted and forget about them. HOw many times in a day do we think about how our white lie can affect other people? What is the line between truth and lie? this movie highlighted all these and reminded us of them!

    one last point i want to make, is that the director beautifully shaped the characters. Their actions completely matched their personalities in the story. After watching the movie we can all probably describe sepideh very well. The interactions of sepideh's husband rigid views, to sepideh's lively and positive personality and ahmad's compassionate personality was very well portrayed.

    lol sorry for writing so much! i love this movie;):)

  12. Hi dear Dorna! Nice to meet you! ;-)

    I guess the reason Hollywood is an exaggerated view of real life situations, is because real life is boring for the common viewer. Therefore, I believe it's justified to hype up the situation, to force us to sit in front of the screen and get the message across.

    But of course, movies that are able to connect with the viewer without hyping up the situation (like this movie) are the ones that receive special recognition. Because they perform a much more difficult feat, with the same glamorous results.

    If "reality-movies" is what you're interested in, I highly recommend watching "Before Sunrise", and its sequel, "Before Sunset". You will be absorbed beyond imagination at how very simple conversations can be so enjoyable. The simple ending of "Before Sunset" will leave you in awe.

    And drop by more often! Nice to hear from you more ...

  13. :) agree with the hollywood thing, it makes sense now that you mention it!

    we actually watched part of "before sunset' in school and i really enjoyed it. I'll def. have to watch both movies now.

    Thanks. For sure;):)

  14. Make sure you watch "Before Sunrise" before "Before Sunset". A friend of mine switched them around, and spoiled the fun!