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Mohammad Reza Shaban-Noori
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Mehrjui put Iran on the movie map back in 1969 with his splendid movie Gaav (Cow) about a villager whose sole possession, a cow, dies while he is away in the city. The loss of the cow drives him to insanity.
Many years has past by but Mehrjui still feels most confident when dealing with psychological issues. He has been quite busy in the nineties. Amongst his most notable films there is the trilogy Sara (1993), Pari (1995) and Leila (1996). All these are female names in Persian.
Pari is a student of literature at one of the Tehran universities. She is a confident yet angry person who is projecting her inner struggle by outwards aggression towards her tutor, her fiancé and her brother. She is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We can only imagine what has been the force behind her mental suicide. Things do clear up as the movie proceeds and all the bits fits nicely in place. Mehrjui gives us the answers we crave for but he will not slam it in our face. There is a certain, subtle level of gratitude for the audience to be felt as he/she entangles the web.
Pari is in a quest. She is burdened by a strange mix of divine heritage and guilt for which she is not fully equipped. Pari is the tool Mehrjui utilises in order to pierce the Persian mystique. A blend of Sufism, religion and literature. All in a holy quest for salvation. We only never know from what!
The visual splendid of the film is a joy. The cinematography is behind any complaints. The editing is at times very pleasing although there is some abrupt and unwarranted cuts and bruises. Mehrjui directs his actors with a clear vision of what he wants to achieve and there is indeed some very fine performances by all the main actors.
To wrap this up. Pari is a film I warmly recommend you to see. This is not a masterpiece as such. This is not the classic people will talk about in 20 years time. But for anyone who has learned to enjoy the enigmatic movies of Iran, this will be nothing short of pure enchantment.
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