Thursday Appointment, a poignant Iranian short film, manages to evoke all sorts of emotions that will no doubt leave many misty-eyed.
The opening scene of the film starts off rather ordinarily with a couple on a drive, reciting a poem by Persian poet Hafez. While mostly unheard of in the Western world, Hafez is extremely popular in Iran. His poems, many about love, faith and even politics, are often found in Iranian homes, and many people have memorised his works.
But as you continue watching, you start to realise why this film is getting the type of attention it has (over 1 million views on YouTube).
When the couple stop at a red light, you catch a glimpse of their kindness and generosity. Then comes the climax, of how without a single word and just one meaningful look, they intervene to bring a moment of peace and reconciliation to a fighting couple with a desperately sad child sitting in the back seat.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9).
It's a heartwarming scene, followed immediately by a bittersweet ending which we'll let you discover on your own.
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You get the gist of the man's loss when the camera pans back to the passenger seat, revealing only a plate of dates with rose petals on it (observant viewers would have noted that while the man's seatbelt was done up throughout the film, the woman's wasn't).
To add context however, when visiting graves of loved ones, it is customary in Iranian tradition to bring flowers, to wash the grave stone with rose water and to bring some sort of sweet treats—usually dates—to share with others to add a little sweetness in moments of bitterness and sadness.
The film is brilliant for its use of colours, symbolism and juxtapositions, all in just 120 seconds. Barr Pictures, which translated the film and is distributing it, states the film is written and directed by 20-year-old filmmaker Syed Mohammad Reza Kheradmand. Reports also claim it has won awards at the Luxor African Film Festival, although that was unable to be verified at the time of writing.