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Homework (1989)

Mashgh-e Shab (original title)
In this documentary, Kiarostami asks a number of students about their school homework. The answers of some children shows the darker side of this method of education.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Babak Ahmadpoor
Farhang Akhavan
Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh
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In this documentary, Kiarostami asks a number of students about their school homework. The answers of some children shows the darker side of this method of education.

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1 January 1989 (Italy)  »

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Homework  »

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1.37 : 1
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Tea At Tony's
3 May 2007 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

I had the great privilege of being invited with several other students to sample " herbal tea " and documentaries at the home of a university film tutor who we shall call Tony . Ah yes " herbal tea " and I'm educated enough to know what a euphemism is . Tony was a perfect host and as we waited for the herbal tea to brew we stood admiring his book collection . Every book on philosophy was on view as was every book written by every film critic . Tony returned to the living room carrying a tray containing herbal tea and cake to which we helped ourselves . We discussed amid much chin rubbing what documentary we should watch . I was too interested in the herbal tea to take part in the ballot but the students took a vote and it was decided we would watch Abbas Kiarostami's HOMEWORK and I sat back on the sofa waiting for the herbal tea to take effect . Unfortunately I quickly realised two things . Firstly that the "herbal tea " was herbal tea and not cannabis leaves and secondly that HOMEWORK was going to be a rather boring documentary

The documentary gets off to what might be classed as a vaguely interesting start has lines of Persian boys aged about 7 or 8 years old shouting " DOWN WITH SADDAM " which gives you a clue what period it was filmed . It goes down downhill from here though due to Kiarostami insisting on filming the documentary via talking head interviews . Hence we see a male child being asked " Do you do your homework ? " or " Who helps you with your homework ? " or " do you get beaten if you don't do your homework " or " Do you watch cartoons " . This goes on and on ad nuseuem and quickly becomes tedious . It also begs the question as to what the audience are actually learning via these interviews . Is it even revealed what the cartoons are ?

There are some interesting comments such as when a child says his father captured a couple of Iraqi sailors , chopped their heads off and threw their bodies into the sea ( Compare this how Iran presently treats captured sailors ) , the wailing child who hopefully hasn't found courage in the interceding years and is now employed as head of the Iranian army and the father who rambles on and on only stopping to say " Would you like to ask me a question ? " . There's one other interesting point and that is the amount of children who want to become engineers and you can't help wondering if they went on to build a nuclear power plant

But this is a fairly uninteresting and dare I say pointless documentary and I don't want to say anything more positive about it as you may feel as disappointed by it as I was disappointed by Tony's herbal tea . I'll certainly be taking advantage of my host's hospitality in the near future but I doubt if I'll be going out of my way to watch anymore Abbas Kiarostami documentaries


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