Grand Prize at the last Detective Film Festival in Reims, The Law of Tehran hits theaters with a bang! What is this feverish and punchy thriller?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
In Iran, the penalty for drug possession is the same whether you have 30 g or 50 kg on you: the death penalty. Under these conditions, drug traffickers have no qualms about playing big and the sale of crack has exploded.
Result: 6.5 million people dived. At the end of a hunt for several years, Samad, a stubborn cop with expeditious methods, finally gets his hands on the godfather of drugs Nasser K. While he thought the case closed, the confrontation with the brain of the network will take a whole different twist …
The Law of Tehran, directed by Saeed Roustayi. With Payman Maadi, Navid Mohammadzadeh, Houman Kiai.
A POWERFUL POLAR
What if we had the crime thriller of the year? Tehran’s Law takes us into a dizzying spiral, an electric face-to-face between a relentless cop and a cunning drug dealer.
This is the second feature film by Saeed Roustayi, 31 years old. The director is already demonstrating an absolutely mind-blowing mastery. He manages to stage a hyper realistic thriller, without any downtime, carried by inhabited actors, in particular Payman Maadi, interpreter of Samad, the obsessive cop.
This portrait of two antagonistic figures is sublimated by the inventive use of the decorations, in particular that of the police station. Several sequences take place in a huge sticky cell where dozens of arrested men are piled up. We feel the promiscuity of the place and the stifling heat that emanates from it, increasing the impression of suffocation and stress.
This hyper realism, the director went to seek it in the faults of a locked Iranian system, which struggles to fight effectively against drug trafficking. The phenomenon of crack addiction in Iran, at the center of the film, is little known to Western audiences.
THE CRACK, A PLAGUE
“In recent years, drug addiction has changed its face in Iran. It has come out of hiding to come to light. More and more addicts are visible on the streets. Their addiction to a new substance, crack, took to the streets much more massively and faster than other drugs did. “, explains director Saeed Roustayi.
By dint of seeing these people, the latter had the idea of making a documentary on them and undertook research. In the end, this documentary never turned out, “but it influenced my fiction films”, adds the filmmaker.
Saeed Roustayi spent several days in the narcotics brigade, then in prison and in court, in order to allow his film to stick closely to reality. An immersion that allowed the director to better understand the situation of the accused drug addicts, but also to meet the police and a judge whose advice was invaluable. “This research lasted almost a year, because I wanted to be as close as possible to the reality of the facts that I described in my film”, he recalls.
This meticulous research work is felt when viewing the film, which does not leave us a second of respite, between tough interrogations and visits to the judge. You have to go with the flow because the script is very talkative and it speaks very quickly. We are carried away by a veritable jubilant whirlwind, until an extremely powerful emotional outcome.
After Life and a Day, his first feature film, Saeed Roustayi reunited with the comedians Payman Maadi (the cop Samad) and Navid Mohammadzadeh (the godfather of the underworld Nasser).
“Payman Maadi and Navid Mohammadzadeh are particularly intelligent and powerful actors. In terms of directing and acting, I already have an idea in mind when I write the script. Once the sets are chosen or built, that my breakdown becomes clearer, these ideas mature and during the filming, I absolutely want to implement them as they are. For me, all means are good to achieve this Payman and Navid are very effective allies in this process “, says the director.
SUCCESS DESPITE CENSORSHIP
Of course, Saeed Roustayi had to face Iranian censorship, as his film openly criticizes the system …