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|Index||38 reviews in total|
Like the Iranian film "Djomeh," which I saw in November, this film's main
character is a young man living in Iran working for an older relative, this
time in a construction job. Also similarly it involves the relationship
between the native Iranians and refugees from Afghanistan.
The story, which moves slowly, involves sacrifice and a degree of romance. The cinematography is gorgeous, with a much more mobile camera than was seen in "Djomeh," and some truly beautiful compositions. This film was Iran's entry for the best foreign language film Academy Award, and is to be distributed in the US by Miramax, although they have apparently delayed it until the Spring. I saw it at the Camera Cinema Club (in San Jose, CA) on 2/17/2002.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
when you sit down to watch a movie from someone who created "children of heaven" and colors of paradise...u expect world class cinema.to me this was not in any such league.for a man who wrote and directed children of heaven with sheer excellence ,i am surprised he directed a movie which fails to evoke me much. the cinematography without question,is excellent.the scenes from Iran are as beautiful as a poem.the imagery and symbolism of rain and the smile that symbolizes the awakening of his soul, despite his misery is beautiful.at several points i was struck by the beauty of the emotion that he has tried to capture.but is there a point? perhaps i am not a lover.i am romantic,but not romantic enough to understand the love that kept growing without any interaction or rationale.why was he so in love with her? we see that though this movie is slow it is not static,the characters are well portrayed and the plight of the workers is brought out as a background theme.what is central to the theme is how love makes a person outgrow the limitations of his heart and teaches him to open himself up.selflessness is an endearing note,but sometimes i feel that why you do something matters as much as what you do.there is no rationale here.eternal lovers will tell me that love knows no reason ,but i somehow refuse to believe that. what puts this movie apart from most others is that there is no stress on building stereotypes.memar is not how "memar's" are usually portrayed as .the workers though overworked show a sense of camaraderie that is endearing.and even their love is not as clichéd as it seems. i reiterate that i simply loved the camera work.the scene where the letter flows down the brook...where he looks at the curtain ,where he sits among the pigeons whom she had fed once are all well painted.. i would say that this film is certainly worth a watch but do not expect a Marji majidi level movie...because for those who fell in love with "children of heaven:" this is surely a let down.
Possibly the film is a triumph - it comes from Iran, deals with exploitation
and prejudice, and is very careful not to criticise (implicitly, too)
powers-that-be. I had a feeling, at times, that I was witnessing an amateur
dramatic production: a lot of the acting didn't seem to be convincing. The
story-line is thin, very thin: both Streisand in Yentl (not my favourite
movie at all) and Julie in Victor/Victoria are more convincing as 'men' than
'women'. Here, nobody could mistake the actress playing Rachmat as a boy -
under any circumstances.
And therein lies the problem with Baran - it deals with an issue that could and should be taken seriously - while still subjugating the woman: EVEN in the film - the narrative is unable to transcend the social subjugation of the opressed.
In short, a triumph in places: but a landmark film, no. Acting often borders on the histrionic and is an affable emotional mess - I've seen children be more convincing. Maybe the problem is that the film tries to be brave, but falls short of actually looking at the society which has produced some of the situations it portrays. And it's not enough to blame the Soviet Union for its invasion of Afghanistan; a good film would look at the way the current regime (Iran) reinforces status quos. And it does not or cannot.
So, given all the hype (in our press too, this film is lauded as 'brilliant') I have to be a lone voice disagreeing.
I had 3 main problems with this movie. One of them is personal...I just
don't like this kind of teenage love story but that problem can't be
blamed on the movie.
The other two were issues involving the casting. The girl is completely unconvincing as a male...her tiny hands and feet ....absolutely no one would believe that she was a male which ruins a key premise of the movie. With out this key premise the whole story falls apart.
The other is that the lead male is impossible to warm to. He is so non photogenic. Surely they could have found a more sympathetic and better looking actor for the role. This actor has what the French call a bad head. Also he overacts terribly or doesn't know how to act I don't know which. He looks like someone in a reality TV series, the only thing he doesn't do is hold his hands over his mouth to show surprise. The girl and most of the other actors are much easier to feel pathos for mainly because they don't over act. I can't help comparing him to the really great amateur child actor in Central Station. This guy is infinitely worse.
Another thing about the story that rings false is that Memar the head of the construction site is a Mother Teresa...he always gives in to every need and want...such a person would have gone into permanent bankruptcy years before. It is just overdone that is all.
Still it was kind of fun to watch I like the how the natural background noise makes you feel like you are there. Things like the birds and the water sounds.
It doesn't deserve world class praise but how typical that is. Anything different or politically in walks away with all the prizes.
His other movie The Color of Paradise is better rent it instead.
This is your review, you may delete or edit it.
A story of tender feelings of a youth against the back ground of the
plight of construction workers,and refugees in Iran...Well this is
BARAN for you.
There is nothing much to be told about the story line which is weak, and which mostly revolves about the infatuation ( wrongly termed as "love" by many people )between a boy and a girl.
The director has handled the theme in a soft and subdued way at times using idioms and avoiding excessive melodrama, which sets the film apart from the usual loud and lustful,so called love stories found in main stream films all over the world.The ending showing the footprint of the girl getting wet in the rains and yet not getting washed away is remarkable, which displays the deep and firm footed emotions the boy has in his mind for the girl.
Good cinematography has helped this film in creating the necessary ambiance.
However there are many flaws in the film.First the acting.The actress doing the role of baran is pathetic. The actor doing the lead role of Latiff however is quite convincing and uses his eyes aptly at times to convey the necessary emotions.The rest of the actors are quite OK.Background music is again,OK.The main flaw of the film is the direction itself.The director at times over uses the idioms resulting in repetitions.Some of the scenes don't seem convincing for a realistic film as this.At times the director gets caught between expressing the plight of the workers and the infatuation of the lead character.
So how does this film affect you ? Well..this one is certainly different from the usual stuff, but by no means powerful to stir you. One cannot help but feel that a story line as this , though weak, could have been presented in a more powerful and poetic way.
Baran means as well rain as it is the name of a girl. In the opening scene we see the calligraphy for rain and the expression: "God is the almighty" which points at the fatalism of the persons in this movie. The main character of the movie Latif (Hossein Abedini) works as a cook at a construction site In Teheran where all sort of tribes come together to work: Kurds, Azeiris and illegal Afghans. The Afghans are the cheapest work-force because they are illegal in the country and so there is also a whole commerce of false passports. Is not clear what Latif is doing with his own passport, he will perhaps sell it to make money. Latif is an aggressive person and he looses his easy job to an illegal Afghan boy and so he must do now the heavy work which makes him still more angry about his condition. Soon an unexpected event will change this... The Iranian movie-maker Majid Majid made also "The Children of Heaven (1997)" and "The Colour of Paradise (1999)". Baran is a naturalistic film and makes one think of "Riff-Raff (1962)" of Ken Loach. The movie is also in the same time a love-story with unreal aspects but the last scene with the girl going to Afghanistan and putting on her burqa on her face is again a jump into reality and the movie ends in the rain. This movie is before all a social drama showing the inhumane conditions of one million Afghan immigrants in Iran but the director does not loose his optimism and some scenes are rather humorous.
"Baran" is a good film in its ability to communicates so much with so little. However, as much as I enjoy these lovely little foreign flicks which spend huge gobs of time scrutinizing the miniscule details of their story, someone should point out that movies such as this are devoid of most of the things people go to movies to see and "so little" is at best a questionable foundation for any film. "Baran" is typically Iranian in its moralistic, minimalistic, sentimental, and simplistic approach to telling it's sweet tale of regret and recompense. But don't expect any travelogue vistas or big name celebs or great sets or wonderful music.....etc, etc. "Baran" will play best with foreign films buffs. (B-)
Majid Majid is the director of this movie and he also wrote the script. The acting is poor and the editing nor the dialogues are interesting. Latif (Hossein Abedini) falls in love at a person, Baran (Zahra Bahrani), who is not the person that it is in reality. That is the only original element of this movie. The movie turns all around elder people having either a sick woman or sick children in Afghanistan and having to travel there and looking for money or cheating their best friends to help their relatives. The movie shows that the problem of illegal immigration is not confined to the borders of Europe but also exists in the Middle-East.
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