Angel in the Wilderness is a love story set in the wilderness of southeast Iran which borders on Pakistan and is overwhelmingly Sunni. Rasūl, who is from a family of Shia scholars and is a third-year university student, falls in love with Hakīmeh-Khātūn, a Sunni girl with whom he has had a few very brief interactions at the university they both attend. Things start heating up when Ali decides to meet and propose to Hakīme-Khātūn’s family. Hakīme-Khātūn’s guardian is not opposed to the marriage in principle, but things get complicated when the Friday Prayer leader of their village joins the proposal ceremony, bringing his Salafist tendencies with him.

Majīd Pūr-Valī’s mastery of the intricate relationships and tensions that exist under the surface between the Sunni and Shia communities comes out clearly in the authenticity of the dialogues and the situations he creates. Each scene bristles with tension, all of which act to open a window onto a fascinating, hitherto unknown world that provides a plethora of nuanced insight, all of which takes place in the context of the unfolding of a heart-wrenching melodrama.