A "visual and narrative delight" (Boston Globe), Mohammad Rasoulof's Iron Island is also a skillfully framed allegory about the politics of survival and rule of law in the contemporary Arab world.
Moored a few hundred yards off the Persian coast, a derelict oil tanker has become a thriving home for cast-off members of Iran's Sunni-Arab minority. "As long as IÂ¹m with you," says Captain Nemat, proud patriarch of Iron Island's floating shanty-town, "you shouldn't worry about a thing." But when the ship's owners announce they intend to sell Nemat's fiefdom for scrap, and the ad hoc community's on-board teacher discovers that the ship is slowly sinking, the captain must provide his people with a future, while preserving the peace and upholding the law in the present. With his brash young protÃ©gÃ© (Beautiful CityÂ¹s Hossein Farzi-Zadeh) risking shipboard harmony and his own life in a forbidden romance, Captain Nemat finds his authority and his humanity tested to the breaking point.
Celebrated Iranian actor/playwright Ali Nassirian gives the performance of his career as Nemat Â an all-purpose skipper, factory boss, lawgiver, matchmaker, and lobbyist who bustles from deck to deck and plunges from crisis to crisis. As looming catastrophe transforms Nemat into a liberator and a potential executioner, whimsical storytelling and documentary clarity give way to a harrowing intensity and mythic beauty that is "haunting, exhilarating, and quietly disturbing" (Los Angeles Times). Compassionate, visually stunning, and relentlessly intense, Iron Island is one of "the best movies to come out of Iran in years." (Christian Science Monitor)