Motherland | TIFF 2023 | Review by: Stefano Bove


Taking place in 1979 in the height of the Iranian hostage crisis and a Post-Vietnam America, Babak finds out the hard way what Americans think of him and Iranians as he attempts to approach his girlfriend's parents to discuss marriage. In order to make this happen, he changes both his name and appearance in order to be liked and to try to assimilate in American society. 

 Babak is balancing being alone in a new country that does not want any association with him and having to deal with being away from his mother and family. He is also trying to stand proud with his Iranian people in America through forms of protest against the hostage crisis. He is torn between these two lives as he is desperately trying to fight for his people.

Motherland was a first for me, the first time I have ever held back tears in a short film thanks to  the tough dialogue by Jasmin Mozaffari and the incredible acting by Behtash Fazlali who played Babak. His conversation with his mother was excruciating to watch as he struggled to come to terms with what is happening in his home country and if his family are even safe. Moving to a new country and feeling as though you need to assimilate to a new culture and drop your own is a difficult situation that many people have to go through in order to live in Western society. Babak embodies the struggles of the Iranian people during the difficult time of the Hostage Crisis but he is a symbol of the pain and suffering that all immigrants endure. 

Director and writer, Jasmin Mozaffari wrote this story in order to spread awareness on the Hostage Crisis of 79 and how Western Iranians were affected by the events that took place. It is a deeply personal story written about her father named Babak and his struggles during this era. I had no prior knowledge on the topic of the crisis and I am thankful for the opportunity to have screened this short film and share Babak's pain.


Review by: Stefano Bove

Popular Posts