The story of Modest Reception is delightfully unclear. What we know is that there are a man and woman driving around rural areas of Iran in a station wagon with a bootful of bags of cash. They may be brother and sister, but perhaps not. It is not totally clear where the money is from or what it is for – they tell so many lies throughout the film that nothing they say can be believed. On their travels, they are attempting to give bags of cash to people, with varying levels of success.
It is an extremely funny film, and the humour comes from the reactions of the people to the money and what the couple needs to do to overcome objections. Neither can believe how difficult it can be to give people money for nothing.
The film doesn’t remain light, though. Both of the protagonists suffer from existential dilemmas and the scenarios become more sinister and dark as the film progresses.