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Iran 2018. Dir: Pooya Badkoobeh. 95 min. DCP

Director Pooya Badkoobeh’s superb debut — Best First Film at 2018’s Fajr IFF — is a moral drama addressing social divisions and the soulless pursuit of wealth and status by the well-off classes in contemporary Iran. When alienated suburban teen Golsa (newcomer Negar Moghaddam, impressive) and her more-affluent friends decide to rob a grocery store just for kicks, it sets in motion a chain of unexpected events. “Badkoobeh’s ambitious, beautifully acted, and gorgeously shot work belies the fact that this is his first film. The moral ambiguity at its centre — Golsa is never particularly sympathetic and her actions have damaging consequences — demonstrates the maturity of focus and the thematic consistency of a veteran filmmaker” (VIFF). “An ethical tale for a new era ... A provocative look at power, money, hypocrisy, and the gap between generations” (Alissa Simon, Variety).