During the war between Iran and Iraq, a group of Iranian Kurd musicians set off on an almost impossible mission. They will try to find Hanareh, a singer with a magic voice who crossed the ... See full summary »
Mamo, an old and legendary Kurdish musician living in Iran, plans to give one final concert in Iraqi Kurdistan. After seven months of trying to get a permit and rounding up his ten sons, he... See full summary »
A girl in traditional female clothing, with her arm in plaster, comes out of school one day and doesn't find her mother meeting her. She decides to travel home herself though she doesn't ... See full summary »
Mina Mohammad Khani,
Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.
Roushan Karam Elmi
Mehrollah is a 14-year-old boy who is forced to find a job to support his family after his father dies. He travels to the southern parts of Iran, looking for work. Upon his return to his hometown, he notices certain changes in his family.
When an ostrich-rancher focuses on replacing his daughter's hearing aid, which breaks right before crucial exams, everything changes for a struggling rural family in Iran. Karim motorbikes ... See full summary »
Mohammad Amir Naji,
During the war between Iran and Iraq, a group of Iranian Kurd musicians set off on an almost impossible mission. They will try to find Hanareh, a singer with a magic voice who crossed the border and may now be in danger in the Iraqi Kurdistan. As in his previous films, this Kurdish director is again focusing on the oppression of his people. Written by
up and out
A picaresque plot tracks us across northern Iraq right after the first Persian Gulf War as Kurds are being hunted down, gassed, arrested, and massacred by Saddam Hussein. We see them in constant flight across a landscape of bombed-out villages and mass graves, their society and lives falling to pieces around them. Grim as that may seem, even knowing that Ghobadi's ulterior motive is to document and publicize the unhappy fate of his people, the Kurds, his movie yet charms us with the humor, resilience, and natural wisdom and dignity of peasant folk, as well as with stunning images of Kurdish life and customs, and raw, wild landscapes, barren and beautiful.
The operatic twisty plot entails a search by a well-known Iranian Kurdish singer Mirza (Shahab Ebrahimi), and his musician sons, Barat (Faegh Mohammadi) and Audeh (Allah-Morad Rashtian), for his ex-wife, Hanareh, also a singer, who fled to Iraq years prior when public performances by women were banned by the Iranian revolution. Their journey takes them from the deserts of Iran to the magnificent snowy mountain peaks of northern Iraq, during which they encounter an assortment of interesting characters, all with memorable faces and stories of their own.
The journey for both viewer and characters is one of transformation and discovery. Although it starts with the manic energy and scrappy comedy of, say, "Black Cat, White Cat," the story's sorrow and tragedy gradually, almost imperceptibly, crescendo as the men approach their goal. Bit by bit they are stripped of both earthly possessions, and social masquerades and props, leaving them exposed for what they are, confronting them with their lives' real purposes and meanings. Barat sees his prejudice against women, the same prejudice which drove Hanareh away, drive away the woman he falls in love with because of her beautiful voice. Audeh (who for the world looks like Gene Shalit), whose sole purpose in life is to produce a male heir no matter how many wives' lives he has to ruin, discovers he can adopt 2 sons from among the hundreds of war orphans, obviating the need for a 12th wife. For his part, the viewer is gradually led deeper and deeper into war-ravaged hell, the human toll of persecution.
Almost all the dialogue is delivered in a uniform monotonous shout. No one hardly ever lowers their voice to a conversational tone or a whisper. Whether this restricted range is due to the fact that Kurds actually speak this way or to amateurish acting, I don't know; but it wears on the nerves, dazes one with its constant din, and robs all dialogue of nuance and impact.
Ghobadi's vision and execution have matured substantially since his last film, "A Time for Drunken Horses." This film is more complex, variegated, and ultimately disturbing than the other, despite having the same overt political agenda.
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