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Whole day I've been thinking about this movie after I watched. I was fully satisfied and for me simply one of the best. Congratulations to Majid Majidi. It is clearly proves that no need to spend millions of dollars and working with Hollywood movie stars to impress people. After I watched this movie I feel not to watch American movies anymore because I realized how the movie should be.The meaning of "Baran" is rain it makes very good sense by finishing the movie with raining scene. By the way the leading actor Lateef is not Kurdish as written in plot. I believe he is Azeri because he speaks Azeri in some part of the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Majid Majidi has made some amazing films, though sadly few in the West
have probably seen them since he hails from a land not especially known
for its film industry, Iran. In fact, finding DVDs of his and other
Iranian films is pretty difficult. I don't think this is especially
because of political tensions between Iran and the US, but more of a
general ignorance in my country that there even IS a foreign film
industry aside from perhaps the French and Japanese. It's a shame
really, as the three Majidi films I've seen (CHILDREN OF HEAVEN, THE
COLOR OF PARADISE and this film) are among the most visually stunning
and beautifully made films I have seen. His films are almost like
visual poetry and they concern ordinary people--not the famous or
especially beautiful--and this is what endears his films to many
people. While I was not blown away by the film like I was by THE COLOR
OF PARADISE (which, I would place in the top 10 best international
films I have ever seen), the look and delicate directorial touch make
this a wonderful film to see.
The film is set mostly on an Iranian construction site. Many of the workers are Afghans who have left their country due to the war. However, they don't have identity papers and can't legally work in Iran, so the foreman employs them "under the table" so to speak. But this isn't necessarily out of charity--it's just that he can pay them a fraction of an Iranian worker (much like many of the illegals in the US from Mexico). In fact, this foreman is an odd man--at times, he seems very stingy and cruel but at others you are surprised by his compassion. This didn't come as a surprise to me, as in other Majidi films I have noticed that the characters are often complex and hard to predict. The certainly are NOT formulaic or dull, but rich in goodness as well as character defects. In fact, the entire film later rests on this duality--but more of that in a bit.
One day, one of the Afghan workers is badly injured on the job. And, since they work illegally, the man cannot work and his family will starve. However, a ruse is created in order to have his daughter employed by the construction site. She dresses as a man and is a "lumper"--a term used to describe an unskilled construction worker who does the work no one else wants to do. But, since she is a woman, lifting and doing this hard work is beyond her means. But, when the foreman feels sorry for her and switches her to an easier job, the man who had this easier job as a gofer is mad--so mad he decides to make life tough for this new "man" on the job! Oddly, however, after being so cruel and thoughtless, later the angry worker discovers that she is a female!! Now you'd think he'd tell the boss and get her fired...right?! But instead, compassion and goodness comes from within and he has a strong urge to help her in her plight. But, when soon after this ALL the Afghan workers are fired, what is this man to do? How can he help her when she and her family have seemingly disappeared?
Overall, it's a very complex character study of a man who behaves inexplicably once he learns the woman's secret. Now I am NOT saying he reacts in a way that is impossible to believe...but it's just hard to imagine until you see that the man has hidden goodness and strength within him. Oddly, however, I just couldn't predict where this film would go and when the movie ended, I found myself a bit confused--not in a bad way, but I just wouldn't have imagined ending the film this way. It's a wonderful film--nearly earning a 9, but I am hesitant to give such high ratings. Plus, the other two films I mentioned that Majidi also made are clearly better films--mostly because they tug at your heart even more and feature some amazing performances by kids (something that is NOT easy to create). Well worth seeing.
By the way, this film was entered by Iran for the Oscars but was not nominated. This lack of a nomination is a bit of a surprise--perhaps it was just a very strong year in that category.
I use movies as an adjunct to my English class in Ladakh, a remote part
of India. I like to show movies from different countries, and movies by
this director always satisfy. It does mean that my students are reading
subtitles rather than listening to English, but reading in chunks is a
real-life reading skill, so I like to mix subtitled non-English movies
in with English ones.
Being Iranian, this movie is, of course, squeaky clean for showing to students in a conservative society.
The character of Lateef is fun to do a character word-web about and my students came up with some great descriptive words, since his character is not all positive, and changes over time. Pre-teach that it's from Iran, and the language is Farsi (not Arabic). Because of many years of war, lots of Afghans are refugees in other countries, and in Iran they have trouble because without ID cards they aren't allowed to work, shop in shops, or stay in hotels. Make sure to catch the names of Najaf (the guy who has the accident at the beginning), his friend Sultan, the central character Lateef, and the boss Memar, because a lot of important plot points happen in discussions mentioning a character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Baran is a dramatic love story written, directed, and produced by
"Majid Majidi" in 2001. Like his previous smashing hit works at that
time, like "Children of Heaven", "The Colour of Paradise", and "The
Father", Baran keeps on moving the audience emotionally in a slow pace,
covering the story in a very cultural dramatic manner. Baran's story is
very close to human life scenarios that is beautifully visualized and
written with a strong message for love and peace where people could
actually relate to the strong portrayed characters to their real lives
and feel every little emotion of the character throughout the movie.
The story of Baran revolves around two very strong characters; 'Lateef', a seventeen years old Kurdish worker who works at a building site in Tehran; and 'Baran', an eight years old girl whose family is a poor illegal Afghani immigrant. 'Lateef' is a lazy, carefree and hot-headed guy who works as a caregiver of all the crew working at the site and manages the kitchen providing the workers tea, water, and food. The turning point comes when one of the old Afghani workers 'Memar' faces an accident and gets hospitalized. He begs the humble building contractor to give his responsibilities of work to his eight years old eldest son 'Rehmat' as he is the only one who could earn money to support his big family. 'Rehmat' fails to carry the heavy loads due to his little age and the contractor makes him swap the responsibilities with 'Lateef' who instantly gets jealous of him and tries his every effort to let him down from the post. One day, on his mission to tease 'Rehmat' in the kitchen, he finds out that he is actually a beautiful little girl disguised as a boy. Her beauty, personality and simplicity makes him fell for her eventually. Then, he tries his every effort to help her and make her feel his affection for her. Every coming day, 'Lateef' feels that he is getting more emotional, sensitive and a better human being by admiring her, her simplicity and personality and tries to be like the person she is. The conflict comes when the Iranian government issues an order to stop all Afghani immigrants to work in Iran and move back to their country and sends forces to arrest them. 'Baran' loses her work in the building site and faces many ups and downs by doing different harder jobs. 'Lateef' stalks her and feels her pain. He is in so much love that he wants to keep 'Baran' away from every pain and hurdle in her way and spends his money and everything that he had and makes her and her family to move back to their country.
The ending scene of the movie is very beautifully and dramatically visualized. 'Baran' is sitting on a Tonga in a veil with her family with all their luggage to migrate back to their country Afghanistan and 'Lateef' is standing in front of her with a very peaceful look that he finally succeeded to vanish all her pains and grieves away from her. The Tonga starts moving and 'Baran' removes her veil from her face and looks at 'Lateef' and gives him a smile showing that she's happy and thankful and she has felt his affection for her and 'Lateef' smiles back that he got her message and goes back happily.
The amazing camera work, beautiful background score and amazing story keeps the audience engaged till the end of the movie, both emotionally and visually. Every character shows a very strong personality with emotions for humanity and peace. Baran fulfills every aspect to be a blockbuster emotional drama movie by touching audience's heart. More importantly, Baran tells the audience an important message that the greatest thing in the world is just to love and be loved in return. I would definitely give this movie a 10/10 and would definitely recommend it to every movie buff out there.
This romance tale, shot in contemporary Teheran, is a simple one of a
young Afghani, Latif, illegally working as a bread and pasta
deliveryman and tea boy for construction workers on a site in a Tehran
outer suburb. The workers are mostly illegal Afghani immigrants like
himself. The government inspectors frequently raid the site and the
Afghani workers scamper safely away in time, each time. This suggests
that the rather seedy Iranian supervisor or boss man bribes the
inspectors (though there is no actual shot of him doing so).
The supervisor is almost always short of cash to pay the workers (Latif is owed one year's salary but is given bits of cash by the boss if he demands it). The civil engineer is not pleased with the shoddy work done and refuses to pay him until he fixes the problems.
Nevertheless, it is revealed later that the supervisor has a heart of sorts. In the meantime the hero Latif, a romantic if quarrelsome lad lose his soft tea boy and deliveryman job in favour of a young and physically weak stand-in Afghani worker who has arrived to cover for a close relative who has a had a bad accident on the site and is disabled for several months. The weak stand-in cannot manage the heavy work so is given Latif's job and the hero has to take on the hard jobs which causes some resentment. The rest of the film is taken up with Latif falling in love with a beautiful but shy young Afghani girl (I'm not telling how this happens nor the secret which is revealed during the process). The photography is brilliant, and we get some fleeting glimpses of the better-off areas of Tehran but most of the time we see the sordid living and working conditions of immigrants at the bottom of the pile, although one country village has a certain unusual charm.. Indeed, some of the scenes, shot exclusively in late autumn or winter are almost lyrical.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
BARAN centers around 17-year-old Latif (Hossein Abedini), the cook and gofer at a Teheran construction site. He's initially angered when he is replaced by Rahman (Zahra Bahrami), the son of an injured Afghani co-worker, until he discovers that his colleague's son is actually his daughter in disguise. Most of the workers at the site are illegal immigrants from Afghanistan (Afghan refugees are legally blocked from entering the Iranian job market), and are in continual jeopardy of losing their jobs in the event of a sudden illness or a sudden visit from government building inspectors. Latif has discovered Rahman's true identity by the time the inevitable moment of crisis arrives, and surrenders to an unrequited crush on Baran, propelling him towards a selflessness which at first seems surprising, as Latif is seen as hot tempered and a bit selfish at the beginning of BARAN.
Latif's eye-opening introduction to the desperate conditions in which she lives definitely makes this transformation more plausible. The ever-present subtext - the state of life in Taliban-era Afghanistan, the exodus of the Afghan work force from the country, and the plight of Afghan refugees abroad gives the romantic side of the story urgency, and perhaps makes the rather unreal Latif seem considerably more realistic, or even politically daring. The camera work throughout BARAN is also exceptional - the construction site is captured in great detail through the graceful and uncluttered cinematography (by Mohammad Davudi), the harshness of Teheran's environment (this film features some of the most effective use of rain, snow and fog this side of a Kurosawa epic) is casually ever-present, and serves to underscore the intensity of the story, and the scenes set in the Afghan refugee settlement are uncomplicated in their minimal beauty, and are consistently devastating in their emotional power. In any case, BARAN is an excellent hour-and-a-half that qualifies as one of the finest of the recent wave of Iranian dramas.
We need more of these films.
Baran was a wonderfully written, wonderfully directed feel-good movie. It's not a run-of-the-mill schlock romantic comedy, don't expect You've Got Mail or Runaway Bride. This is a harrowing tale of Afghani immigrants who must work illegally in Iran, working twice as hard as Iranis and getting paid much less, all to stay alive. And by staying alive I mean rock-bottom, hand-to-mouth survival.
It's also about self-realization, and how human beings are capable of putting others before them, and of sacrificing everything to help someone in need.
When an Afghani worker is injured at a construction site, he sends his son to take his place so that he can feed his family. Latif, an Irani worker at the site, is an arrogant and short-tempered boy who picks on the Afghanis the most. He lights into the new boy, twice as much when the boy, rather weak, ends up taking his cushy job of brewing and serving tea to the other workers. He is resentful and bitter, as he's forced to harder labour, and even more so when the workers all comment on how amazing the new boy's tea is and how awful Latif's was. He tries to make life unbearably miserable for the new boy day in and day out, until one day he makes a startling discovery: the new boy isn't a boy. Latif immediately changes his attitude, trying to help the 'boy' and defending and protecting her rights and treatment. At first it's merely because he's attracted, but he slowly gets more and more intrigued, then begins to genuinely want to help her, as he himself goes through a period of self-realization and self-sacrifice.
The movie is tender and touching, well paced and *beautifully* shot. Some of the cinematography is simply breathtaking. The characters of Latif, Baran (the girl) and Memar (the overseer at the site) are especially strong. This film is a definite must-see, it helped to restore my faith in humanity, as even seeing this kind of film on screen strengthens the heart. We need more of these films!! 8/10.
The film is a typical Iranian film. It is like others, relying
completely on the human emotions. The story is about the life of
construction workers at a site. It focuses on the Afgan people living
in a stressful environment all the time. Main concentration is upon two
individuals. Things went with such a nice pace that hardly anyone can
criticize about the character analysis or any other aspect. The film is
very good in its genre of simplicity.
Developing emotions can never be seen more properly than in an Iranian film. The best part is that you forget to focus on the acting of the characters and just want to know how the film would end.
I liked everything in the film but towards the end everything seemed to be too much. I just cannot grasp that properly.
Message: "Love is beautiful."
Verdict: "A recommended watch."
"Baran" is like a prequel to the opening of "Kandahar," showing why the
Afghan refugees return home, as it's sure not clear where is the frying
pan and where is the fire.
It gives a heartbreakingly beautiful contemporary view of a story as old as time, as some song from some Disney or other movie would put it. I'm sure there's several Celtic legend songs with a similar story line of the young man who gets in way over his head in a relationship from afar within highly circumscribed familial and authority strictures.
Original here is that his heart's desire is one smart cookie who is coping as best as can be within an intolerable social situation, and his efforts have "Gift of the Magi" consequences.
There is not a single cliché, and the probably amateur actors are used to effective visual effect with very little dialog.
(originally written 5/19/2002)
I see this film after many years that I living out of Iran ,I think that maybe it is humdrum for someone but it have a really romance story . not only me but many of the guy's that I know them ,see this film for more than one time.also I must say about actors and back ground of this , I think that it have a poor camera moving ,and also not have a wide back ground , but actors ,specially first boy and Afghans girl have a nice play in this film ,it has a simple story but have a deep looking to human life (real life) so I hope that this film director and actors make more film like this , I guess that it's have a many customer like us out of Iran .
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