Ajans-E Shisheh-I is a hostage drama filmed in the style of a television sit-com, but it is also a seriously-intended satire of Iran's social and political conditions. The story is about two veterans of Iran-Iraq war -- Abbas, who now runs a farm, and his wartime commander Kazem. Abbas comes to Tehran with his wife to seek medical treatment for a war wound in his neck, and Kazem offers his help. Tests reveal the presence of shrapnel. Abbas is advised to go abroad for the operation and keep very calm in the meanwhile. However, it is almost New Year's Eve, which makes it difficult to arrange the trip in haste. The problems they encounter make Kazem blow his top, and he ends up taking a whole travel agency hostage. In the crowd are portraits from today's Iran, such as Colonel Salhshoor, who represents the ruling system and is obsessed with promoting law and order. For him, the decade of fighters such as Abbas and Kazem is over -- now is the time for stability and security. There are also others -- the manager of the travel agency, a merchant from the bazaar, a female student, all respectable members of society. Most of these people would use their money to get out of difficult situations, but Kazem is the last bastion of idealism and he will not give up his true values for the benefit of political interests. Unfortunately, his only supporters are the "Hizbouallah" (religious fanatic extremists). Ajans-E Shisheh-I is a tragicomedy with a sound script and convincing acting; it's one of the rare films from Iran which is not about children, nor does it take place in idyllic rural settings. The film was screened at the International Forum of New Cinema section of the 49th Berlin Film Festival, 1999.
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