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Canadian Film Fest Review: Tehranto

March 22, 2022

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The 2022 Canadian Film Fest starts tonight and runs in two segments from March 22nd to 26th and March 29th to April 2nd, exclusively on Super Channel.

Tehranto, writer-director Faran Moradi’s crowdfunded feature debut, is a Canadian romantic dramedy that explores the very different experience of two Iranian students in Canada, Sharon (Mo Zeighami) and Badi (Sammy Azero), who happen to fall in love in Toronto.

Their first “meet-cute” happens when Sharon is running late for her real estate exam, and Badi accidentally plows into her on the sidewalk on his bike. As it turns out, the rude guy on the bike is also the nice man who delivers food to the family restaurant, whom her grandmother (Niaz Salimi) has been trying to set her up with. Sharon is reluctantly pursuing a real estate degree because it’s what her parents (Ali Badshah and Mahsa Ghorbankarimi), who have established an affluent life in Richmond Hill, want for her, but her own passions lie in art, while Badi is training to be a doctor. As much as they try to avoid each other, the two end up forming a bond.

The film falters slightly in that it still adheres closely to a rom-com formula, including a melodramatic turn in the last act that didn’t entirely work for me. But the unique and authentic cultural perspective of Tehranto allows it to stand out, and Moradi stages several heartfelt moments around it. Where Moradi’s film succeeds is in exploring Persian identity by showing the experiences of two people who share the same cultural background but have drastically different perspectives on it. Badi feels very connected to his culture and what is happening back home, while Sharon has very much adapted to Western culture, even anglicizing her birth name, offering an interesting contrast.

Moradi also employs a number of stylistic touches, including ironic voiceover narration by Navid Negahban and some freeze frames to explain certain cultural customs and phrases, which help enliven the storytelling. The result is a decent debut feature that serves as an enjoyable and at times thoughtful GTA-set romance that is very much centred around the immigrant experience.

Tehranto plays tonight on Super Channel at 9 PM and Midnight (ET). Tickets and more information can be found right here.

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