In his film “Nothing,” Abdolreza Kahani expresses his disappointment in Iranian men in an angry tone. That is why he gives the final choice and decision to one of the film’s female characters. In the film’s last scene, we see that Efat, the family’s mother, is wearing her running shoes, an act that underscores her determination to return to her former job as a maid to save the family.
Four men exist in the film. Within the new conditions that have transformed Iranian society, these men have become the mere spectres of what was once called Iranian man. Suffering from genetic problems, Nader, played by Mehdi Hashemi, indulges in constant eating, an act that stands in sharp contrast to the naked poverty that we witness in the film.
In this symbolic film, Nader, with his insatiable appetite, is busy devouring and plundering the little earnings of the people who, when the film begins, feed him with all they have. The film’s story assumes the form of magical reality when Nader’s endless eating coincides with the production of extra kidneys in his body. The money that is generated by selling these kidneys should assist the members of the family who took care of him. But not only does Nader not improve their life, he also takes possession of their meagre sustenance.
Beyk, the oldest brother, is a former bully and thug who takes advantage of the new culture of polygamy by taking a second wife, an incident that leads to the disintegration of his life.
Adel (Ahmad Mehranfar), the second oldest son, is a former soccer player who deflects his disappointments by controlling and abusing his wife Yekta (Baran Kosari); Adel’s violence ultimately leads to Yekta’s suicide. With Yekta’s suicide and the destruction of the embryo that she carries in her body as the film’s last sparkle of hope, Kahani presents his dark vision of the future, a future that was supposed to be built one day by Adel’s son.
Saber Abr’s extraordinary performance as Nima, the fiance of the family’s youngest daughter, also presents a character who, despite his kindness and tenderness, ends up with the same bleak fate that has engulfed all the men in the film. In fact, Nima, who is unable to finish his studies, has no desire to work or make any commitments and is extremely dependent on his mother. At the end of the film, we realize that he does not even partake of manliness.
The fourth man in the film is an overeating lazy man with an unsatisfiable appetite who lives off his aunt. Not only the new wealth that is generated by the production of extra kidneys in his body has no benefits for him, it also multiplies his personal abnormalities.
Efat, his sons and their wives are all symbols of Iranian society that, after Nader’s appearance as a source of wealth (since he produces new kidneys), is revived by a new hope. Nader’s extra kidneys clearly resemble the country’s oil reserves.
Despite the windfall, the family’s condition does not improve at all. In fact, it even gets worse. In reality, this inexhaustible wealth is used only to satisfy Nader’s unappeasable greed as the guardian of the fortune that is blown down by the wind.