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U.S. Theatrical Premiere
"Impressive...[director Hamid] Rahmanian takes the basis of an actual Islamic law -- permitting the family of a murder victim to personally carry out the execution of the convicted murderer -- as profound material for a spare and almost unbearably tense drama." -Variety
"Wrenching and harrowing" -Chicago Tribune
Tip of the Week! "Without didacticism or sentimentality, Rahmanian proves himself a sturdy storyteller, and there are many worthy turns and surprises in the telling." -New City Chicago
Recommended -Chicago Reader
The Iranian legal system gives the families of murder victims an unusually large degree of control over the perpetrator's punishment. Families can demand remuneration for their losses, pardon the criminal, or even request a public execution. If they choose execution, then they are required to meet with the convict before the punishment can be carried out. Based on a true story and shot inside a century-old Tehran prison, Day Break concerns itself with the plight of Mansour, a convicted murderer trapped in a hellish limbo caused by his victim's family, who has repeatedly delayed the critical meeting preceding his execution. As his agonizing wait continues, he and his own family are left to wonder whether the delay is intended as torture or whether it will perhaps lead to a pardon. Meanwhile, Mansour finds it harder and harder to bear the pressure of uncertainty, and he becomes more and more distanced from his parents and his pregnant wife, even as his dreams keep taking him back to his life before imprisonment. Juxtaposing documentary-style camerawork and self-reflexive moments with a number of expressionistic and subjective sequences, director Hamid Rahmanian delivers a complex and powerful film whose beauty and stylization make the incredible pain of its characters all the more poignant. At once deeply affecting and stylistically bold, Day Break subtly balances an obliquely critical look at contemporary. (Tribeca Film Festival).
Directed by Hamid Rahmanian, Iran, 2005, DVD, 84 mins. In Farsi with English subtitles.