The story behind Babak Payami's plodding drama is perhaps more interesting than the movie itself. Alarmed that the film would damage the reputations of Muslims, authorities in Tehran confiscated the negatives. Payami's response was to assemble his own digital-video version.
Set in a village near the Afghanistan/ Iran border, the film explores the negative influence of fundamentalism upon the lives of ordinary people. It begins when the local executioner (Kamal Naroui) is ordered to spare a young woman (Maryam Moghaddam), whose crime remains unclear. So far, so uncomplicated. Well, at least until the mullah insists that the man must marry his intended victim, sleep with her and then kill her because "an executed virgin will go to heaven".
An intriguing premise, perhaps, but Payami's approach is far too deliberate, precise camerawork recording the almost wordless action. Such restraint would be admirable if it didn't have the side effect of disengaging the viewer.