For more than three decades, aging Iranian Mohamad Sardari (Zadour Bonyadi) has worked as a crossing guard at a desolate train station. Through the years, Mohamad has done little to stifle ...
See full summary »
The story of a ten years old Iranian schoolboy living with his mother and his father in Northern coasts of Iran. The boy helps his father in selling the latter's illegal fishing and helps ... See full summary »
Hashem (Zakariya Hashemi) is a cab driver who finds an infant child in the back seat of his cab one nigjt after he gives a ride to a young woman. Hashem and his girlfriend, Taji (Taji ... See full summary »
Amiro is a young boy who has lost his home during the war. He spends his days by working odd jobs, until he realizes that the only way that he can realize his dreams is by enrolling in ... See full summary »
A treatise on love and desire tainted by harsh reality of capitalism, in which submission to the laws of lust-as-commerce is played out by five prostitutes and their pimp, who pits them ... 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 »
A semi-autobiographical account of Makmahlbaf's experience as a teenager when, as a 17-year-old, he stabbed a policeman at a protest rally. Two decades later, he tracks down the policeman he injured in an attempt to make amends.
A woman orders a suit from a tailor for her young son to wear to her sister's wedding. The tailor's apprentice, together with two other teenage boys who work in the same building, devise a ... See full summary »
For more than three decades, aging Iranian Mohamad Sardari (Zadour Bonyadi) has worked as a crossing guard at a desolate train station. Through the years, Mohamad has done little to stifle the loneliness and boredom inherent in the job. Meanwhile, back at his family home, life is similarly uneventful: Mohamad's wife passes the time sewing night and day, especially since the couple's son left to join the army. As time passes, Mohamad mechanically continues to do his duty.
Bleakly memorable film that provides food for thought on the purpose and direction of life
Mohamad Sardari has served for over thirty years in his remote railway crossing station. Dutifully he has lowered and raised the crossing guard each time a train has come by. In his small home his wife sits and makes rugs from sunrise to sunset; his son has long since left to join the military. With minimal contact with the outside world, Mohamad has long since settled into his quiet, uneventful life a life that he sees no reason should ever change, nor does he desire it to do so.
Whether or not this is the brilliant film that many viewers proclaim it to be is a thing I'm unsure of but, regardless of that praise, it is certainly a memorable one that achieves a very strong sense of the remoteness and ultimate pointlessness of some lives. If you haven't already guessed yet, this is not a cheerful feel-good movie to take that girl who keeps smiling at you to for your first date. Instead this is a slow, patient film that has long periods of nothingness punctuated by sudden moments of, well, comparative inactivity. Despite this though it manages to be surprisingly engaging because it is well observed and interesting that sounds contradictory but you need to see the film to understand it.
The railway line stands as Mohamad's thin connection to a life that he has never explored one of other people, experiences and interaction; his life is empty and isolated and it is easy to relate to that sort of existence. Perhaps not physically (few of us have that amount of space or silence), or even in terms of diary entries (many of us can easily keep busy) but perhaps in terms of emotion. As Mohamad empties the only home he has known for decades, you do have to wonder what the point of it all was a thought that stayed with me as I drove to work the next day, a job I enjoy but ultimately doesn't define "me" or my meaning any more than the reviews I write here, the way I spend my weekends or anything other one thing that is fleeting in the longer term. It is not really depressing because, for all its emptiness it is thought provoking and interesting. The character of Mohamad is hard to relate to but his sense of loss at times is tangible and it was easy to go along with him to the point where I was engaged in his story. Bonyadi's performance is one of understatement, patience and understanding. Saless' direction is impressive, setting the empty tone well but also providing plenty of lingering interesting shots that add to the memorable quality of the whole film.
Well worth seeing, although you should be aware of how far removed it is from the MTV-edited, action movies that are served up as an increasingly large portion of our cinematic diet (in terms of what is on offer at multiplexes more screens, less choice). It is a bleak and empty film that has remoteness and isolation running all through it; it engaged my interest and brain equally and I imagine it will stay with me for quite some time to come.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?