Avant la fin de l’été [Before Summer Ends] (2017)

Avant la fin de l’été
Director: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Writer: Maryam Goormaghtigh
Cast: Arash, Ashkan, Hossein
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2017

Arash (Arash) has been studying in France for the last few years, but he didn’t really get into life in France, so he wants to return to Iran. His two best friends, also originally from Iran, Ashkan (Ashkan) and Hossein (Hossein) don’t want to see him go, so they propose to go on a road trip together, hoping that they could change his mind in the course of it.

Avant la fin de l’été was a short film butit felt surprisingly long and was a little too aimless for my taste, making it a little tedious.

An opening note: I don’t know how fictional this film is – the main characters have the same names as the men portraying them, imdb states it is a documentary, in the Viennale program it was filed under fiction films. In any case, I read it as a fiction film and not a documentary; of course that shapes my review of the film as well.

The film doesn’t start off too badly and there are moments where it is really strong, especially when it comes to issues of migration and the three men share their experiences leaving Iran and living outside of it. Unfortunately in the course of the film, these moments get rarer and rarer and the film focuses instead on the two women the three meet and their more or less romantic entanglement with them.

And even that I could have probably enjoyed more if they had actually gone for romance for the fat Arash. But instead, Arash is sidelined and barely even considered a man at all. He is obviously interested in the women, but there’s no reciprocation at all. And I don’t need to see another fat character being deemed unworthy of love, sex and/or romance.

The film ambles along, but never towards any kind of goal. A road trip may not have a fixed route and maybe not even a set destination, but when it feels like nothing is moving at all, then things start falling apart – and that’s what it felt like for me. That makes both the ending and the way we get there unsatisfying and tiring.

Summarizing: Didn’t work for me.

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