Coffee and Books (پرسه و قهوه به شرط کتاب) is an educational/cultural, not-for-profit group based in Manchester which attracts book-lovers and aspiring writers from migrant and refugee backgrounds. We visit arts, entertainment and cultural centres. Coffee and Books' sessions also provide the opportunity to talk and review books, plays, etc. Support such as gaining access to HOME's Inspire tickets are crucial to our activities.
Currently, most people attending our sessions tend to be familiar with Farsi language, hence our sessions run in Farsi. Although we are open to running sessions in English for other communities.
On hearing that HOME was screening Winners we decided to view it. On this visit, Coffee and Books had the pleasure of having a professional literature critic in the group, a unique opportunity to learn. In our group, an average of 6 out of 10 marks was given to Winners. Interesting enough the mark given by the critic was more than the scores given by others.
The positive points:
- The storyline, placing an Oscars Award in a small village in Iran was an original an interesting idea.
- One of the most interesting discussions we had was about a scene showing a wedding. The groom was in a suit, a modern way of appearing in public, whilst holding a donkey's halter. Equally interesting was the little boy's reaction to the girl holing the naked statue. Again another example of the more strict or traditional approach of no contact with the opposite sex, even when the opposite sex appears as a statue. This clash or lack of alignment between modernity and tradition in most people was discussed.
- The subtitles demonstrated a good understanding of the hidden meaning of words in both the film's original language and the translated one. An example was when the mother of the boys calls the little girl, عروسم, my daughter in law.
The questionable points:
- The two famous ex-actors becoming recycling operatives and not wanting to be recognised might have been believable, but their hard attitude in underpaying the children working for them made the scenario rather unlikely.
- The unanswered questions in the scenario made the storyline rather clumsy.
- Clichés such as overweight children being informers.
- Directing wise, in scenes like children escaping with the statue whilst being chased by others was not well executed.
Overall, Winners is a film worth watching. The experience of seeing it at HOME in a group was exceptional. Thanks to those of you who attended the session. Thanks also to HOME for making the experience possible for Coffee & Books.