In an age of online dating sites and apps that find your perfect match through a swift swipe left or right, Mrs. Sadri is almost a rarity. The manager of an Iranian dating agency, Mrs. Sadri is not concerned with making dreams come true. In fact, she thinks her clients should scrap their silly notions of love and be more practical.
As the audience observes in Azadi Moghadam’s documentary The Broker, marriage it not a luxury, but rather a necessity. In a society where men have all the power, and only want much younger partners, a woman’s worth is not judged by intellect or personality, but rather by material status and youth.
Instead of challenging the patriarchy, Mrs. Sadri and her team work hard to uphold it. They revel in their limited power to be both matchmakers and therapists for their clients.
While they instruct their male customers to look nice and think about permanent marriage as a goal, the female clients are advised to be thankful for whatever they can get. After all, a bad husband is better than no husband.
It is when Moghadam shows the inherent contradiction engulfing the agency that The Broker is most revealing. They may preach the virtues of putting aside ones’ desires and expectations in favour of completely pleasing a man, including forgiving and forgetting every time he strays, but find it hard to adhere to this themselves. For example, one of Mrs. Sadri’s widowed co-worker, struggles with falling in love with a companion 20-years her senior who does not love her back.
While it is possible to remove love from a marriage of convenience, The Broker shows that our natural desire for love, affection and respect can never truly be erased.
Saturday, April 28, 5:45 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Monday, April 30, 2:45 PM, Scotiabank
Friday, May 4, 3:30 PM, Revue Cinema