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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Fireflies **

Starring: Arash Marandi, Flor Eduarda Gurrola, Luis Alberto, Eligio Meléndez

Director: Bani Khoshnoudi

Country: Mexico

Ramin (Marandi) is an illegal migrant worker, living in Veracruz, Mexico. He has escaped Iran, where he has served in prison, but dreams of travelling to Turkey to be reunited with his secret boyfriend. But as he manages to find work, learn the language and make some friends, he begins to realise that life goes on, both at home and where he is.

Essentially this is a film about loneliness. Ramin is alone in a country he doesn’t want to be in, but it’s only by learning to make the best of the situation that he’s in that he can actually be happy. The connections he makes with those around him become friendships. His weak grasp on Spanish becomes more secure. But, of course, living out his sexuality is much more complicated.

This is a character study that spends a lot of time observing Ramon in solitude. As a result, this suffers distinctly from Inactivity Syndrome, in which we trudge alongside him through his depression. The narrative veers off to follow other characters at times, but these feel tangential and unnecessary when it’s clearly Ramin’s story that we’re following.

He experiences a second sexual awakening, but the camera infuriatingly shies away from this, despite it being the film’s most interesting storyline. Having clearly battled for his sexuality at home, he finds a modicum of liberation here. Except the scenes he experiences toward the end of the film are quite difficult to take in a film that is otherwise about the positivity of new beginnings. It’s not all doom and gloom throughout, even if Ramin barely cracks a smile throughout, but really this just needed someone to up its pace.


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