Independent Film Preview

Young Ali: Those Were The Days

Amir Motlagh’s new film is a brave and unflinching exploration of a character during an intense emotional upheaval.

Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops
5 min readDec 11, 2023


Young Ali: Those Were the Days. Image owned by Amir Motlagh, used with permission.

Amir Motlagh’s new film, Young Ali: Those Were The Days, is an engaging, uncompromising, intimate portrait of a man whose life is changing. While it is quiet, contemplative, and meditative it deals with large and turbulent emotional issues in a beautiful, relatable way. Like many of Motlagh’s films, it explores the essence of connection, re-connection, and disconnection: not only with the world, but the people in it. What sticks with me the most is the bravery of dissecting the complex emotional world of such a messy time for a character.

Ali is facing a big change after a divorce, and like many who do so, he returns to his parents’ home to recover and contemplate. During this time he is challenged — not just by his own feelings following the harsh disconnection, but also the difficulty in reconnecting to himself. We are invited to be with him and witness the time he spends evaluating not only who he is, but who he was — and ultimately who he wants to become. It’s a relatable story and one that we’ve all faced at sometime or in some way or another. We have all connected, and then disconnected. Motlagh’s adept…