Bahram Beyzaie's "Downpour" (1972), the director's debut feature, is a pivotal film in the Iranian New Wave. The story revolves around an educated, single man who arrives in a new neighborhood to teach in a local school, only to find himself entangled in a web of local politics and an unexpected love interest.
Beyzaie's direction sets a tone of drama and humor while adeptly exploring social and political themes. His style, characterized by long takes and complex shots, showcases a keen eye for detail and a nuanced understanding of his characters and their environment. The narrative strikes a balance between personal and societal issues, portraying the protagonist’s struggles against the backdrop of a broader cultural context.
The acting is commendable, with Parviz Fanizadeh delivering a stellar performance as the protagonist Mr. Hekmati. His subtle portrayal of a man grappling with love, duty, and societal expectations is both moving and relatable. The supporting cast, though largely comprised of non-professional actors, also deliver authentic performances, adding depth and local color to the narrative.
Firouz Malekzadeh's cinematography is understated yet effective, capturing the starkness of the urban landscape and the bustling life within it. His lensing communicates the social dynamics and cultural nuances of the setting in an unobtrusive manner.
The film's sparse score, composed by Manouchehr Sakhai, accentuates the emotional beats of the story without overpowering it. The editing by Abbas Ganjavi is smooth and maintains a steady narrative pace.
"Downpour" stands out for its social commentary, subtly expressed through its well-drawn characters and carefully constructed narrative. It's a compelling cinematic experience that captures a significant moment in Iran's cultural and cinematic history, marking it as a cornerstone of the Iranian New Wave.