Two star-crossed lovers – the gentleman, an impulsive chain-smoker, and the lady, a perfume tester – make their fateful meeting with their red and yellow VW Beetles at the intersection of a cold, snowy brick road. It sounds so idealistic and scripted, that one would expect it to arise from the pages of a Mills and Boon literary feature.
Director, producer, and leading actor of Meeting Leila, Adel Yaraghi, has delivered far from that however, in this gentle and mellow love story of a man with a ghastly habit and the women he loves, and the story of their journey of love.
Advertising ideas man Nadir (Yaraghi) struggles to further his haphazard career without his deadly vice, when his beloved Leila (Leila Hatami) insists that he must banish his filthy habit in order for their wedding to take place. This proves difficult for Nadir, who steadfastly believes that the source of his creative genius is his smoking.
Yaraghi and Hatami are easy to accept in their roles and it is heartwarming to observe their apparent love for one another. Despite his quirkiness and ill-mannered outbursts, Nadir is an undeniably likeable character who you cannot help but feel sorry for; one way or another, this determined chap tracks down his hazy guilty pleasure.
The cinematography is visually pleasing, but some stretches of dialogue are uncomfortably long, and at times it was difficult to see where the conversation was going. This did, however, tighten up as the plot progressed. Although some camera work was too static and repeated frequently, it did not deter from the film’s pace and its lure to for audiences to continue watching.
A charming love story faintly marred with long, albeit charming, dialogue and banter.
Meeting Leila (Ashnaee ba Leila) opens during the Iranian Film Festival at the Mercury Cinema on 27 October.
Reviewed by Nathan Giaccio
Rating out of 10: 6