My interest in this film was that I’ve been to Tehran and lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. That’s a slightly strange perspective and may explain why I didn’t get on so well with the film.
We follow the story of Nasrine (meant to be about 16 I think) who rides home in Tehran on the back of a boy’s motorbike wearing a coloured headscarf. She is picked up and (we fear) raped by the Vice Police. Her father decrees that she and her brother Ali have to go to England.
So they arrive in Newcastle; she goes to school and falls in with a community of travellers which gives her the chance to ride horses and have consensual relations with the brother of her new friend Nichole. Ali meanwhile takes two illegal jobs and struggles to come to terms with his sexuality…
There seemed to be two main themes here: the idea that you become an adult by casting off what you were before and the treatment of refugees in the UK. But they weren’t integrated but rather went on in parallel. There were other points being made in the contrast between the saturated colours of Tehran and a washed-out Newcastle; between motorbike + bad boyfriend and horses + good boyfriend; and how even in going to school Nasrine found herself becoming part of a marginal group, while Ali’s encounter with the normal inhabitants turned out to be fatal…
All in all I didn’t quite get it.
Micsha Sadeghi gave a brilliant performance as the heroine, while still looking even older than Carey Mulligan in An Education.