Within the movies of the Iranian director Shahram Mokri, time ripples, bends, devours itself. Mokri’s prior options, “Fish & Cat” and “Invasion,” have ouroboros-style plots, with recursive chronologies and scenes repeated from varied characters’ factors of view. His newest, “Careless Crime,” pivots on one other form of time loop: the repetitions of historical past.
An epigraph tells us of a 1978 fireplace set off by 4 militants on the Cinema Rex in Abadan, Iran, that killed a whole bunch of moviegoers and incited the Iranian Revolution. In its opening scenes, “Careless Crime” appears to recreate that occasion, as a theater proprietor argues with two colleagues about including extra seats to his cinema, whereas a wayward pyromaniac, Takbali, falls in with three Islamist arsonists. However temporal methods already abound: References to the Shah recommend prerevolutionary Iran, even because the settings — replete with gleaming telephones and computer systems and vehicles — are up to date.
Issues develop stranger as Mokri begins slicing between Takbali, the theater crew and a film-within-the-film (referred to as, err, “Careless Crime”) a few army captain’s run-in with two girls organizing an outside screening of “The Deer” in a distant village. (So as to add to the whiplash: “The Deer” was screening at Cinema Rex in the course of the 1978 fireplace.)
Mokri constructs his movie like a management experiment, tweaking every of its variables — time, area, narrative — as if to see what he may catalyze. At occasions the outcomes are poetic, as when, in a fabulous feat of each taking pictures and performing, a sequence of interactions is repeated a number of occasions inside a seamless round panning shot. At different occasions, “Careless Crime” feels fairly enervating, the movie’s political cost and the pathos of its characters subtle by Mokri’s mathematical zeal.
Not rated. In Persian, with subtitles. Working time: 2 hours 19 minutes. In theaters.