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Film / Cafe Setareh

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Left to right: Molook, Fariba, Salomeh.
A 2006 Iranian film about the lives of three ordinary women who live on one block. When a murder happens, all of their lives are affected in different ways.


This film provides examples of:

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  • Anyone Can Die: Feridun, Khosro, Salomeh.
  • Asshole Victim: Everyone hates Feridun.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Fariba and Feridun hate each other.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Khosro for Fariba, although she doesn't appreciate it. Later, this is what drives him to kill Feridun.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ebi is in jail, Khosro got shot by the police, Salomeh committed suicide. At least Molook got a happy ending.
  • Brick Joke: The satellite dish "breaking."
  • Bus Crash: Khosro.
  • Christmas Cake: Molook's story has undertones of this. Fortunately, she has a happy ending.
  • Domestic Abuse: Feridun beats Fariba (offscreen) when she objects to him taking her jewellery, which is what makes Khosro angry enough to attack him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Strongly implied to happen to Salomeh.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted. The owner of the pool table seems to feel bad at first when he realises that Fariba had just been widowed... for about thirty seconds, after which he continues harassing her.
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  • Foreshadowing: A subtle case: early on in the film, Fariba moves some dirty dishes off the pool table and scolds the customers for leaving them on (rough translation) "this table whose owner is dead" - in Farsi, a curse approximately equivalent to "this damned table." Feridun, who bought the pool table, dies, and the man who lent them the money for the pool table comes forward to demand it - a plotline that drives all of Salomeh's story and much of the rest.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: Except for Feridun and the pool table owner, everyone is presented somewhat sympathetically. However, they all make some seriously selfish decisions, and Molook is the only unambiguously nice character. And even she helps Khosro escape after murdering Feridun.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Ebi feels that Fariba and her mother would be better off not knowing that Khosro is dead, so he burns all the newspapers that would tell them.
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  • Irony: Fariba and her mother repeatedly state that Fariba only stays with her husband because of what her neighbours would think if she divorced him. It turns out that the neighbours hate his guts, and their attitude at his funeral is "Hey, free tea."
  • Landlady: Molook. Unusually, she is a protagonist (and the most sympathetic character).
  • Mood Whiplash: Molook's story is more lighthearted than the other two, and has several comedic moments. Of course, it still covers the same tragedy as the other stories.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Khosro appears to feel this way, though Ebi tries to convince him to marry Molook because she is well-to-do. He seems to be considering the idea, until external events make the point moot.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Enforced by Iranian censors.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Frequently, because the film follows the stories of the women separately and consecutively. As a result, things that happen offscreen in each story have effects on other characters, but the audience doesn't realize what caused them until later.
    • For example: We see Ebi crying in his car, and are led to believe that it's because Salomeh was flirting with the creepy pool table owner. Later, during Molook's story, we find out that he forgave Salomeh and was actually crying because he found out that Khosro had died.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Molook is an extremely G-rated version when she attempts to seduce Khosro.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Ebi and the creep, for Salomeh. She loves Ebi, but he goes to prison for four years and she decides to commit suicide rather than choose between waiting for him and having nothing, or marrying the rich, older creep now.
  • Romantic False Lead: Khosro for Molook.
  • Run for the Border: Khosro attempts this. He gets shot by the border guards.
  • Running Gag: The old man who never understands slang in English.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Salomeh and Ebi, at first.
  • Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: Salomeh's friend has this attitude. Salomeh disagrees... at first.
    • The film itself seems to be heading this way, when Salomeh and Ebi's relationship turns into a tragedy, and Molook and Khosro go nowhere. Fortunately, Molook ends up meeting and marrying her true love.
  • Unable to Support a Wife: Ebi, which is what drives him into making the unwise decision of stealing the jewellery.
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