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Foreign Comedy - Iran - The Pastry Girl

BUY Pastry Girl (dvd cover)
Fatemeh Mohamed Aria, Soraya Ghasemi, Hamid Jebelli
Written and directed by Iraj Tahmasb
Farsi with English subtitles
Iran 2003
Facets Multimedia 2005
105 minutes

The many people who enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding will certainly enjoy this DVD if they are a little forgiving. The Pastry Girl is a romantic comedy of the totally absurd. The opening scene alone is worth watching: Saeed is carrying his cantankerous old man t on his shoulders to the police station. The old man wants to lodge a complaint against his son for stealing something and, mostly, for wanting to get married to Niloo, a pastry girl. When the duo leaves the police station, Saeed still carrying his father on his shoulders, you learn the old man prefers this mode of transportation to using Saeed's car because this way his son can't complain about having to drive him everywhere. That is only the beginning.

The Pastry Girl is in Farsi with English subtitles which, for many viewers is a death sentence for a DVD. This is unfortunate because this is one weird and very funny comedy. At the same time, the subtitles here a handicap even to those who are used o watching foreign language movies because The Pastry Girl is dialogue rich and viewers will soon experience sensory overload trying to read everything while keeping an eye on the very surreal and comedic action. The subtitles themselves can be a little surreal and inadvertently funny at times. When the father is in the hospital for a heart ailment the son is translated as saying, "He has a stork 7 or 8 times already!"

Hamid Jebelli is a great comedian whose performance in The Pastry Girl will remind many of the better Louis de Funes movies. The short scene at the hospital where the doctor is giving him the paddles to revive him is simply great physical comedy of the absurd.

When the father, Hamid Jebelli, has a premonitory nightmare he finally agrees to give his son his identity card back so the latter can finally get married. This, of course, means, as the subtitles might read, the coco will hit the fan. Romeo and Juliet's love problems are nothing compared to Saeed's and Niloo. When Niloo's mother learns about the old man's change of heart she agrees to the wedding, once again, only if the old man promises not to say a single word during the entire thing. You know this is not going to happen and it is no surprise when Saeed's father refuses to produce Saeed's identity card so the government official can legalize the wedding.

Much like Romeo and Juliet, Niloo and Saeed decide to commit suicide by eating some of Niloo's wonderful pastries that she has laced with her mother's sleeping pills. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the sleeping pills were not sleeping pills but something completely different.

The Pastry Girl is a wonderfully absurd comedy.



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