Iran has a long and glorious reputation for producing world-class cinema, regardless of the state censorship that has been an impediment for decades. Despite all this, the Middle-Eastern country has made a raft of award-winning films throughout the twenty-first century. We’re starting to see top-quality genre cinema, in Farsi, from the Persian diaspora around the world. Most notably Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow. Kourosh Ahari’s new film, The Night, joins this impressive bunch.
Babak (Shahab Hosseini) and Neda (Niousha Noor) are returning with their young daughter from a friend’s dinner party in Los Angeles. As he’s been drinking and her licence is suspended, they decide to book into a hotel for the night. The Hotel Normandie seems like an unassuming, if largely empty, place to stay. However, they soon discover that they’re trapped within the building and the only way to escape is to face up to their personal demons.
The great strength of The Night is the acting talent on display. Hosseini in particular, who has starred in A Separation and The Salesman, is a mesmerising screen presence. Ahari’s film work better as a relationship drama and whilst there are elements of horror at play, they are often psychological and sometimes off-screen. The Night is a curious and interesting beast which takes a number of elements and themes, wrapping them up within a confined setting.
The Night is available in In Select US Theatres, Digital Platforms and VOD now.