An alarm beeps. The sun is brightly shining through the thin curtains of a barred window. For the Mehdipour family, this is just the start of any ordinary day. The Finnish suburbs are their temporary home, as they seek for guaranteed Asylum. The children of the family study and go to school; as the parents work hard with the little they earn to provide. Yet, they’re seemingly happy with their accommodations. But just like any temporary place, everything eventually comes to its dreaded end. It’s a similar case for the Mehdipour residence and numerous other families who are displaced in the same tragic end of denied residence and asylum. It’s also the focus of Hamy Ramezan’s Any Day Now, a lingering coming-of-age story about the adaptation of one’s own identity against the pressures of preserving routine and livelihood.
Any Day Now is a wondrous tribute to the families who have gone through numerous cycles of rejection against state authority. It’s a tale of survival and determination infused with great empathy. Shahab Hosseini’s performance is a particular scene-stealer, as he delivers an incredibly sympathetic supporting performance, as a father busy learning and accustoming to the language barriers and economic blocks that face the Mehdipour family. His role features an impressive amount of nuance and range, as the renowned Iranian actor makes the most out of his signature intimate mannerisms and quirks — through both a sober and drunk perspective. It’s a versatile and beautiful role that further proves Hosseini as one of the greatest performers of the 21st century.
Even the lively child-performances bring a level of realism to the overall scope of the film. The debut acting role from Aran-Sina Keshvari is meticulously coordinated and blocked for ultimate effect. Keshvari demonstrates a clear understanding for the original text, and portrays his character not as a cliché — but as a living and breathing tween, on the verge of self-questioning. Amplified by the film’s gorgeous celluloid cinematography, one can even argue that usage of film photography adds a level of nostalgia and metaphor to the overarching aesthetic appeal. Ramezan prominently focuses on a visual allegory of Ramin Mehdipour’s nostalgic and oftentimes grainy thoughts and experiences — through this aforementioned usage of classic celluloid.
The irony of all this meticulous setup is unfortunately diminished by the film’s lack of cohesion. Well-intentioned without a single doubt — though the film frequently and needlessly switches points of views between Ramin and his father. The end result is a messy film that only briefly highlights the human struggle of both characters. In their own individual respect, both have very interesting backstories in regards to their own experiences as refugees within a contemporary Finnish society. The issue is more due to a lack of focus, where the film is far too ambitious for its own thematic undertaking. The pressure of time and the incoming fear of rejection against the state is never truly present throughout the film either — a theme that should have been far more urgent and at the forefront of Ramin’s journey of self-acceptance and revelation.
Regardless of the end execution, stories made by people who understand and/or have been through the same depicted refugee experience first-hand will always be deserving of some sort of recognition for their harrowing cinematic attempts. Even with its messy narrative threads, meandering subplots and ill-defined perspectives — Any Day Now still manages to bring an authentic piece of humanist cinema to the forefront of its conflict. For what it’s worth, one can only hope that Ramezan continues with his filmmaking career, and to continue advocating for more underrepresented refugee stories and experiences.
Dir: Hamy Ramezan
Runtime: 82 minutes
Any Day Now premiered at this year’s 71st Berlinale as part of the Generation K-Plus program. The film is currently seeking international distribution.