This drama from Iran offers a glimpse into an aspect of Middle Eastern culture and society that is little known (or understood) by most Americans. Mahmoud (Fariborz Arab-Nia) lives in a small town in Iran, where he's happily married to Taraneh (Rozita Gharfari), a dutiful wife who looks after his needs and comforts. However, Taraneh is about the only thing that's going right in Mahmoud's life lately; the factory he owns is in severe financial straits, and his business partner Khakpour (Hamid Reza Afshar) has been seriously injured in an auto accident in Tehran, several hours away from their hometown. Mahmoud is visiting Khakpour in the hospital when he meets a beautiful woman named Sima (Hedieh Tehrani); while Mahmoud makes it clear to her that he's a happily married man, Sima makes no secret of her interest in him, and as he spends more and more time looking after Khakpour, he finds himself frequently crossing Sima's path. Unable to ward off temptation any longer, Mahmoud agrees to a "temporary marriage" with Sima, an Iranian formality that allows men to sleep with other women without violating the culture's strict taboos against extramarital affairs. While Mahmoud tries to make clear that their relationship is indeed temporary, with a clearly delineated expiration date, Sima is not so willing to give him up, and her obsession with Mahmoud soon has unfortunate consequences. Shokaran was a major box-office success in Iran, and is one of the few adult-themed melodramas from Iran to find its way to American screens.
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