Episode #12: Secrets and Lies in Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly

Welcome to episode #12 of the Hello Cinema Podcast. We’re back after a one month hiatus to discuss Asghar Farhadi’s About Elly (Darbare-ye Elly, 2009), finally released in North America last month (through Cinema Guild) after a six year delay. he film, for which Farhadi won a best director prize in Berlin, is a particular favourite of Hello Cinema. Tina, as you already know, has written a book about Farhadi’s work and is understandably fond of this film. I admit, at the risk of spoiling an upcoming list, that I consider it the best Iranian film made in the 21st century.

Taraneh Alidoosti as Elly in About Elly Taraneh Alidoosti as Elly in About Elly

About Elly is a unique export for the Iranian film industry because it is a story about middle class characters. Farhadi’s film is at stark contrast to all the Iranian films that have been widely screened outside of the country and have become critically acclaimed over the years. We speak about this depiction of the lifestyle of young, middle-class Iranians, about the formal vigor of Farhadi’s direction and the structural complexity of his screenplay, and about the work of the performers in what is truly one of the strongest ensembles ever put on the silver screen. If you haven’t yet seen the film, we advise you to do so before listening to this episode.

Opening 0:00-1:30
About Elly‘s release history 1:31-5:20
Ruptured structure: Farhadi’s storytelling genius 5:21-12:45
An impressive formal exercise 12:46-17:50
The ensemble 17:51-24:10
The Iranian middle class on screen 24:10-33:55
Closing 33:56-35:35

You can download an .mp3 version of this episode here, or subscribe to our show on iTunes.

Works Cited
About Elly (imdb, Cinema Guild)
Tina Hassannia’s Asghar Farhadi: Life and Cinema (
The Critical Press, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, TIFF Lightbox Shop)
Music: “Sonatine” by Maziar Heidari