Against a backdrop of destruction, the film centers on a young Jewish-American tourist who was buried with her fiancé and the Iranian tour guide who took them to the hospital after they were dug out from the rubble.
In her own words, Adele tells of a dream vacation with her fiancé Tobb. She relives the terror of the earthquake and subsequent realization that they are buried in the rubble. Her parents tell of their trepidations about the trip and their frenzied actions in reaching their daughter in the Iranian hospital. Intermixed is a commentary from their San Francisco-based travel agent who managed to cut through the bureaucratic red tape to expedite their flight and entry into Iran .
The film portrays the loving care of the medical staff that oversaw her treatment and helped her to cope with the loss of her fiancé. The survival story of this American tourist is delicately interwoven with the experiences of Iranian survivors and the resiliency of the children.
Exceptional footage captures the hospital scenes and caring medical staff, as the film depicts a culture that refuses to take payment for the medical treatment of a guest in their country. Intimate interviews illustrate the simple fact that disaster is oblivious to human variables of race, religion and politics.
Throughout the film, viewers are presented with the dramatic duality of the diverse subjects. From a suburban California kitchen to a bedraggled tent, the emotional and physical toll knows no boundaries. Immediate post-quake interviews with Iranian victims who lost entire families and all physical possessions are offset by their humble hospitality as they share what little is left. That duality is visually reinforced with sepia-toned post-earthquake footage interspersed with scenes of a modern and bustling array of shops and tourist destinations.
Aside from the story of Adel e, perhaps the most evocative duality centers on the children. Amidst the rubble, volunteers are on hand to help them as they struggle to come to terms with their losses. In play and school, through art and song, their emerging smiles create a sense of hope and a positive attitude that mankind can overcome any and all hardships and turmoil. In the children the viewers see salvation.
From the victims to the relief and rescue workers from around the world, the film captures an amazing selflessness and remarkable level of hospitality. The sobering and unspoken reality of the film is the lack of any political, racial or religious enmity amongst the people. Throughout the film, there is only a sense of love and hope.