Director Ali Asgari doesn’t want to debate conception or child-rearing in “The Baby” (or “Bacheh”). The director’s short film, one of the dozen award-winning finalists competing in TheWrap’s ShortList Fest, is about the tension that a mother who has a baby out of wedlock must contend with when living in a strict society.
Asgari doesn’t want viewers to concern themselves with how his protagonist became pregnant or who the father is.
In “The Baby,” Narges and her friend have only a few hours to find a temporary home for Narges’ baby before her parents arrive to visit her. The task proves difficult because people in her conservative community don’t want to help someone they consider a pariah: a single mother.
Asgari’s film isn’t mirrored after anyone in particular, but takes inspiration from life in Iran.
“I had this image of two girls with one baby,” he told TheWrap. “One day, I was talking to one of my friends in Iran, and she told me how much she’d like to have a baby, but she cannot because she has a very traditional family and she doesn’t [want] to marry.”
Asgari says his intention is not to promote single mothers or to condemn them, but to illustrate generational tension between Iranian youth and older people.
“We live in a very traditional and sometimes religious country, but we have a very moderate and very non-religious young generation,” he said. “There’s always a heavy and hard [competition] between this young generation and older generation. They want to beat tradition.”