Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.
Roushan Karam Elmi
A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star: mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth ... See full summary »
The wife of Nasim, an Afghan immigrant in Iran, is gravely ill. He needs money to pay for her care, but his day labor digging wells does not pay enough. A friend connects Nasim to a two-bit... See full summary »
Chosen by Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine as one of the top five films of the 1990s. See more »
When Sabzian and Makhmalbaf meet, there is a bundle in Sabzian's hand. He gets on the motorbike with the bundle in his hand. Later on, during their ride on the motorbike, the bundle is not there any more. See more »
The film's title doesn't appear on screen until almost sixteen minutes into the film. See more »
This is a courtroom drama unlike any you may have seen.
I find it amazing that this movie works as well as it does. The people in it are not actors. They are ordinary Iranian citizens who happened to be involved in a curious incident that aroused the interest of a very talented film director. As an American who is aware of the tension between Iran's government and its vibrant film industry, you can't help but to scour this simple story for an ideological message. Is it a protest film? Is it an "all is well with Iran" film? Well, it's not either. It's just a simple and relatively mundane story told by the people who actually lived it.
What I got out of it, and your mileage may vary, is a deep sense that there is something beautiful about seeing a relatively small matter as an event of deep significance, one that requires all your attention. There is no larger story that gives meaning to the small events portrayed in the film, but the people in it, as well as the filmmakers themselves, imbue them all with a great seriousness. All of it is done without a hint of parody or ulterior motive.
And it's not like Iran didn't have "big" issues to confront in 1990, as it was rebuilding its society after the brutal war with Iraq. The cheap and obvious thing to do, which many foreign movies try, is to tell a simple story with a background of an emotionally charged historical time. It's quite beautiful to see this movie avoid that trap. It's not like you'll be moved to tears or something, but that's a part of the point! In a way, the film's ostensible lack of manipulativeness is so fresh to American eyes that you might find yourself moved on a much deeper level. Well, that, or you might be totally confused. After all, there is no background score to instruct you on how you should be feeling at each instant.
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