Director: Asghar Farhadi
Year Released: 2009
Several law students, their significant others and children, along with a kindergarten teacher, Elly (Taraneh Alidoosti), decide to take a brief vacation at a beach house only to find, in the afternoon, one of the kids is drowning and Elly is missing. If there's a slight knock against this it's that Farhadi doesn't exactly introduce the characters all that well, making the first portion a casual (although distanced) affair, so that when the Big Event occurs, it shifts into an altogether different movie (albeit still compelling). Farhadi, with this and his next two films (A Separation and The Past) has established himself as one of the major psychologists of current cinema: he has a good understanding of human nature and is skilled at revealing hidden motives over time (the Sepidah character, as it turns out, means well but it backfires on her). It should come as no surprise he comes from a background in theatre ... and knows how to translate the tension of the stage onto the screen.