Snow (Barf)


Sara has a suitor coming to visit her and her middle class family is busy with preparations. One of her brothers, Omid, who serves in the military, has come down for the event and the story largely takes place from his point of view. We find out that the father has gone to court to settle a case related to the family having borrowed money from the bank, while Majid, the eldest brother, tries to haggle with bank representatives who have come to evict the family from their house, since they’ve failed to settle their loans.

Things only get worse for them from here on – there is the case of a missing cheque which the mother was supposed to have used to pay the dowry of another girl (she is the manger of a charity that helps those in need) while a visit from the sarcastic grandmother, in town for a planned surgery but unaware of Sara’s upcoming engagement, causes even more commotion.

As a chamber drama, the film is cut from the same cloth as the recent works of Asghar Farhadi. Snow also has the advantage of good actors who give sincere performances, never letting their reactions to the situations turn melodramatic. The film features a measured pace, never hurrying with revelations but instead letting them emerge through the natural progression of the day’s events. Like a good stage play, the one location setting (the film is set entirely in the house) and the single day format (the day of the suitor’s visit) lend intimacy to the proceedings.

Drenched in honesty and conviction the film is decidedly Eastern in it’s exploration of social norms and moral dilemmas and stays true to the very essence of what’s made Iranian cinema so appealing these past few years. Despite piling one form of misery after another, Snow is neither as cynical as other family dramas such as Festen nor saccharine in it’s approach making it the perfect contemporary domestic drama.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and