Sunday, September 23, 2007

Zero Degree Turn: Episodes 1 & 2

Kamran and I started watching Zero Degree Turn yesterday. For those of you interested in plot summaries here goes. There will be no editorializing in our summaries, just summaries. I don’t have the names down yet… so descriptions will have to do:

Episode 1:

A rabbi is killed on the streets of Tehran. The detectives speculate that the Germans may have been involved.

We are introduced to the Parsa family: a tolerant, Muslim family with political ties. The son-in-law is pro-Nazi, but gets a firm talking to from his father-in-law. The mother is a nurse. The daughter is a voracious reader of foreign literature. The son has just passed his exams for study overseas. Parsa, the elder, meets with another rabbi to discuss the murder. He is told that it is possible that a rival Jewish group assassinated the rabbi so that Iranian Jews will feel unsafe and leave for Palestine.

By the end of Episode 1, the detectives have followed the only witness to the murder as he is forced into a car and brought to an empty house for questioning by a group of masked men spouting pro-Nazi propoganda. The detectives burst-in, a fight ensues. The masked men are de-masked at which point the witness recognizes a fellow Jewish boarder and the murderer. The third man is anonymous. During the fight, the murderer, the nameless man, and one of the detectives are shot. The murderer and the nameless man are killed.

Meanwhile, the son has met a fellow-test taker at a photo studio and has struck up a friendship. Father Parsa, who was somehow influential in the promotion of the lead detective, is approached by said detective and told that because of an indiscretion in his own past, his son will not be allowed to study overseas. The indiscretion: the organization of an Islamic congress without permission while the father was a diplomat in Egypt. The conference was against British and Zionist policy in Palestine. The friend also has a family indiscretion: a brother, who is also the caretaker of the family, in prison because he is a member of the communist party.

Episode 2:

We meet a colonel with suspect motives who is subtly undermining the lead detective’s investigation of the Rabbi’s murder. The wounded detective is being treated by Mother Parsa, a nurse, who is not altogether optimistic of his chances for survival. The one remaining conspirator refuses to talk. Someone slips a gun into his cell that the conspirator uses to take a hostage and attempt escape. The detective attempts to negotiate, but the colonel kills the conspirator. “You just killed our only witness!” The detective admonishes. “The life of my personnel is more important than the life of the conspirator,” The colonel calmly responds. Still, the colonel promises to follow-up personally.

Meanwhile, the pro-Nazi, nationalist son-in-law is told by Father Parsa, who is now a doctor, that he cannot have children. The son-in-law worries that his wife will want a divorce, but Father Parsa recommends adoption instead.

As yet, neither the son nor his friend knows that family indiscretions will prevent them from studying. Everyone else knows, which causes some awkward moments.

The detective discovers that the deed to the house used by the conspirators is missing from his office. After searching for it he questions the role of the colonel and rushes to his office where he finds the colonel looking at the document. In this last scene, the colonel tells the detective that his former fiancé married another and now lives in Germany. It was her house, he reveal, given to her by her husband, which was used by the rabbi-murdering conspirators. They are faced with a conundrum: how to deal with this without creating an international incident?


NPR's story

Episodes available for download: Persian Hub (Thanks to commenter Azadeh for sending us to Persian Hub)


Anonymous said...

This show is B.S., it' full of anti-Semitic messages. Check out this article in the L.A. Jewish Journal that exposes the truth about this show;

Semira said...

I read that article and I don't think the points made are valid at all. It starts out by saying that the dialogue is actually anti-Semitic in Persian...but why then would the Iranian Jewish Association (made up of REAL Jews) praise the show? Don't they speak Persian? Why on Earth would they support the show?

ALSO, perhaps more importantly, the show is not entirely fictional (as the article claims). It is based on a real Iranian man who saved many Jewish children by forging papers for them. Look, this has nothing to do with Ahmadinejad. Iranian Muslims themselves say they got to see Jews in a better light and Iranian Jews praise the show. Get over it....not everything is anti-Semantic.

And one last comment - it is a HISTORICAL FACT that Iranians, and Arabs as well, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. People many not like that history, or may find it inconvenient, but you can't just change history because you want to be able to see the world in black and white.