Terrestrial Verses

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Terrestrial Verses is a satirical gem that offers a poignant glimpse into the absurdities of daily life under authoritarian rule in modern-day Iran.

Through nine seemingly trivial vignettes, the film navigates the mundane challenges Iranians face in Tehran. From naming newborns to securing a driver's license – each scenario unfolds with a resigned but clever humor that is both somehow funny and hopeless.

The film's minimalism doesn't just serve as an aesthetic choice but elevates its social commentary. The camera, standing still, becomes a silent observer of the bureaucratic, theocratic, and misogynistic hurdles the characters navigate. The result is a cinematic experience that is equal parts funny, anxiety-inducing, and enraging. The narrative structure and astute observations make it a compelling exploration of the lighter side of living under authoritarian rule. In its simplicity, the film manages to convey a complex web of emotions, leaving viewers both amused and disheartened by the resilience required to navigate such a reality.


Iranian directors Ali Asgari (b. 1982) and Alireza Khatami (b. 1980) shot the underground drama Terrestrial Verses after the Mahsa Amini movement started to capture the zeitgeist of Teheran. The film world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and the film resulted in Asgari being banned by the Iranian authorities from leaving the country and directing films until further notice.


Ali Asgari:
2022 Until Tomorrow
2016 The Silence (short)
2013 More Than Two Hours

Alireza Khatami:
2017 Oblivion Verses
2013 Rain Dog (short)
2011 Elephant in the Street (short)

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