Leila’s Brothers, a family affair

Picture of the film LEILA'S BROTHERS by Saeed ROUSTAEE © Amirhossein Shojaei

Despite her young career, Saeed Roustaee no longer needs to prove anything to anyone. Three years ago, he dazzled the world of cinema with Just 6.5, selected at Venice and the Grand Prize Award winner at Reims Polar 2021, and which chronicles the fight against drug-trafficking in Iran. The director, originally from Teheran, enters In Compétition this year at the Festival de Cannes with Leila’s Brothers, a drama about the tragic implosion of a family trying to become wealthy in a country worn down by international economic sanctions

The family of Leila (Taraneh Alidoosti) is crushed by debt. Although they are hit hard by the inflation ravaging the country, her brothers prioritize their own ambitions at the expense of the family's well-being. In order to escape this situation, Leila sets out to start a business, but investors are few and far between. This is when she learns that her father Esmail (Saeed Poursamimi), who is in poor health, has amassed a significant amount of money, which he plans to give to his community in order to become the new patriarch. Little by little, as the patriarch's health deteriorates, the family finds itself on the brink of imploding.


This third feature film by the 32-year-old director seems to echo his first film, Life and a Day, released in 2016, which deals with the emptiness left by the departure of an Iranian family's youngest daughter. Once again, in Leila’s Brothers, Leila devotes her entire life to her parents and four brothers. Apart from the economic situation, the director is thus able to broach the theme of how much weight the patriarchy carries in her home country.


Leila’s Brothers is the second feature film to represent Iran In Competition this year, after the thriller by Ali Abbasi, Holy Spider. In addition, double Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi is a member of the Feature Films Jury.