Payman Maadi's Snow on Pines

By Meysam Karimi for

Snow on Pines which employs a linear narrative, delivers a unified tone and eschews clichés. Usually Iranian films are based on stereotypical stories or situations, but Snow on Pines is an original work that, while not perfect, is impressive. The use of black and white cinematography is a most striking feature of the film.

With his first film, Maadi shows us that he is a smart filmmaker by paying attention to his characters, with each character clearly depicted to advance the narrative.

Maadi has created an excellent depiction of a middle-class family, one unfortunately dismissed by other filmmakers. Seeing a middle-class family with their own problems and way of life, without stereotyping them in an antagonistic way, is something rare among Iranian films. The tediousness of married life, with both husband and wife bored, is an issue in our [Iran] society today, and is skilfully portrayed in Snow on Pines.

One of the promising points that Maadi portrays in the protagonist, Roya, is avoiding misleading exaggeration when facing her husband's infidelity. She is an introverted character who restrains her pain and feelings. She calmly sets herself free from her marriage to begin looking for a new life.

Maadi’s ingenuity can also be seen in his direction and paying attention to secondary characters. The use of secondary characters in key situations and moments of the story whilst common  in  world cinema, is rarely applied by Iranian filmmakers. While more could have been done, Maadi has paid an acceptable deal of attention to the secondary characters.

Mahnaz Afshar plays one of the best roles of her career. In recent years, Afshar has played distinctive and atypical roles. making herself notable among Iranian actresses. Here she delivers an admirable performance as Roya.

Translated by Bahador Valadi