THE FIFTH REACTION

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Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Starring: Niki Karimi, Marila Zareie, Jamshid Hashempoor, and Shahab Hosseini

Genre: Drama

Audience: Teenagers and adults REVIEWER:
Dr. Ted Baehr THE FIFTH
REACTION is another in a long
line of poignant movies about
the plight of women in Iran
under the repressive Islamic
system. The movie opens with
some teachers taking their
lunch hour. One by one, each
tells the others how wonderful
their husband is – except
for Fershteh, who is a widow,
and another, who was never
married. Tamereh, who paints
the most idyllic picture of
her loving husband, is
interrupted when her husband
Hussein comes into the
restaurant with his young
secretary. A verbal fight
ensues, he tells her to go
home, she refuses, so he tells
her never to come back.
Suddenly, everyone’s mask is
off, and the true stories of
the repression by their
Islamic husbands come to
light. From that point, the
movie focuses on the widow,
Fershteh. Fershteh’s
father-in-law, Hadj, an
important businessman in
Tehran society, tells her she
must leave his home. She
reminds him that he always
told her she was like a
daughter to him. He says yes,
but now that his son (her
husband) is dead, she can’t
stay because he has two single
sons living in his home. She
asks about her children, his
grandchildren, and, he says
that, of course he’s going
to keep them. With the help of
Tamerah, Fershteh decides to
take the children and run. The
father-in-law, Hadj, enlists
the police and all of his
employees to find her. He
issues complaints against all
her women friends, and they
are put in jail. He taps all
the phones of Fershteh’s
friends and eventually tracks
her down. The implicit
question in THE FIFTH REACTION
is, “Where do you appeal for
justice when Islamic law makes
the man a petty potentate?”
The answer, which is never
said, is that you need a
higher law, God’s Law. As it
is, the Islamic law only
serves the men in the society,
and there is very little grace
in their relationship with the
women. The ending is
surprising. Ultimately, the
movie is a rebuke of the
Islamic system. It is also
surprising that it got made in
Iran. The acting is good, and
the direction is, too. The
editing could have been much
tighter, and the film quality
is mixed. However, the movie
captures you and doesn’t let
you go until it’s
finished. Please address your
comments to: Farabi Cinema
Foundation 75 Sie-Tir St.
Tehran 11358, Iran. Tel.:
+98 21 670 81 56 Fax: +98 21
670 81 55 Email:
fcf1@dpi.net.ir

Rating: Noted rated by the MPAA

Runtime: 106 minutes

Distributor: Farabi Cinema Foundation

Director: Tahmineh Milani

Executive Producer:

Producer: Mohammad Nikbin

Writer: Tahmineh Milani

Address Comments To:

Content:

(BB, Fe, L, V, M) Moral worldview with the underlining question of who’s or what law governs and a focus on the plight of women in Iran; two obscenities and two profanities; man hit on head; no sex; no nudity; smoking; and, corrupt legal system.

GENRE: Drama

BB

Fe

L

V

M

Summary:

THE FIFTH REACTION tells the true stories of several women’s plight under the repression of their Islamic husbands. With commendable direction and acting, the movie is a sobering rebuke of an enslaving, false religion.

Review:

THE FIFTH REACTION is another in a long line of poignant movies about the plight of women in Iran under the repressive Islamic system. The movie opens with some teachers taking their lunch hour. One by one, each tells the others how wonderful their husband is – except for Fershteh, who is a widow, and another, who was never married. Tamereh, who paints the most idyllic picture of her loving husband, is interrupted when her husband Hussein comes into the restaurant with his young secretary. A verbal fight ensues, he tells her to go home, she refuses, so he tells her never to come back. Suddenly, everyone’s mask is off, and the true stories of the repression by their Islamic husbands come to light.

From that point, the movie focuses on the widow, Fershteh. Fershteh’s father-in-law, Hadj, an important businessman in Tehran society, tells her she must leave his home. She reminds him that he always told her she was like a daughter to him. He says yes, but now that his son (her husband) is dead, she can’t stay because he has two single sons living in his home. She asks about her children, his grandchildren, and, he says that, of course he’s going to keep them. With the help of Tamerah, Fershteh decides to take the children and run. The father-in-law, Hadj, enlists the police and all of his employees to find her. He issues complaints against all her women friends, and they are put in jail. He taps all the phones of Fershteh’s friends and eventually tracks her down.

The implicit question in THE FIFTH REACTION is, “Where do you appeal for justice when Islamic law makes the man a petty potentate?” The answer, which is never said, is that you need a higher law, God’s Law. As it is, the Islamic law only serves the men in the society, and there is very little grace in their relationship with the women. The ending is surprising. Ultimately, the movie is a rebuke of the Islamic system. It is also surprising that it got made in Iran. The acting is good, and the direction is, too. The editing could have been much tighter, and the film quality is mixed. However, the movie captures you and doesn’t let you go until it’s finished.

Please address your comments to:

Farabi Cinema Foundation

75 Sie-Tir St.

Tehran 11358, Iran.

Tel.: +98 21 670 81 56

Fax: +98 21 670 81 55

Email: fcf1@dpi.net.ir

SUMMARY: THE FIFTH REACTION tells the true stories of several women’s plight under the repression of their Islamic husbands. With commendable direction and acting, the movie is a sobering rebuke of an enslaving, false religion.

In Brief: