Heydar is a young Afghan living in Iran. He works as a servant for a rich old recluse. It is not a very demanding life: his duties involve cooking, grocery shopping, housekeeping and washing clothes. He has enough free time to hang out with his friends (all fellow Afghan refugees) and to practice English with the hopes of being able to return to his homeland to work as a translator.
And that, in the proverbial nutshell, is Babak Jalali’s short “Heydar, An Afghan in Tehran.” This is truly the Islamic Republic’s answer to “Seinfeld”: an Iranian film about nothing. How long Heydar was in Tehran, how he got his job, where his family is, and if he has a girlfriend or wife somewhere are just a few of the many unanswered questions raised by this film.
Aside from a brief but hilarious sight gag of Heydar stoically watching a woman munch on grapes in a supermarket, the film has zero to recommend except handsome production values and handsome Heydar Zamani as the title character. Zamani resembles Daniel Day-Lewis and could possibly find a new career as Hollywood’s resident ethnic hottie – provided the mullahs allow him to leave Iran to work in demonic Tinseltown.
It is not a bad film. It is just not particularly special.