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By Alan Ng | April 29, 2020

Pendulum is one of those movies that I couldn’t pull myself away from until the end and for unexpected reasons. It’s not the greatest film and definitely has its flaws, but its subject matter is what had me hooked. Fair Warning: you may not have the same experience, which I’ll chalk up to a matter of preference.

Our tale is about a married couple, Amirali (Naeim Jebeli) and Shabnam (Heila Imany). They are Iranian immigrants living in Toronto. Amirali is a businessman, who just lost his job because he refused to sign off on a deal for environmental reasons. Shabnam is a highly successful model, now looking toward a new future in fashion because she’s aging out at twenty-five years old. These facts are only a minor point to the film.

“…Shabnam knows having a child would all but doom her modeling career.”

Pendulum is really about the fact that Shabnam is pregnant with Amirali’s child. Like a pendulum, on one side, Amirali is thrilled that he is about to be a father, and on the other, Shabnam knows having a child would all but doom her modeling career. Throughout the film, their relationship is like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Shabnam has just returned from a modeling gig in Brazil. She is afraid she contracted the Zika virus, and she is worried about the health of herself and the baby. Amirali assures her that if she had it, Zika would not affect the baby. Shabnam storms off because of Amirali’s concern only for the baby.

After the pair goes to their respective friends for advice, including Faranak (Golshad Moradi) and Mohsen (Azad Imanirad). As the couple powers through their communication issues, the pendulum swings yet again as Shabnam considers having an abortion to save her career. Here is where the story gets interesting as discussions of abortion and feminism come into conflict with old Persian and religious customs of patriarchy and masculinity as well as coming into conflict with the values of their new Canadian home.

Pendulum (2020)

Directed and Written: Mostafa Azizi, Amir Ganjavie

Starring: Naeim Jebeli, Helia Imany, Golshad Moradi, Azad Imanirad, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Pendulum Image

"…often have cinematic gems buried deep, deep down within its frames."

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