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 »
A girl in traditional female clothing, and her arm in plaster, comes out of school one day and doesn't find her mother meeting her. She decides to travel home her self 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
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 »
Amiro is a young boy who has lost his home during the war. He spends his days by working odd jobs, until he realizes that the only way that he can realize his dreams is by enrolling in ... See full summary »
A film comprised of three interconnected vignettes that depict women at three stages of life in Iran. The first part centers on a young girl on her ninth birthday who is told that she can ... See full summary »
The whole village knows that Mashti Hassan loves his cow to death. One day he goes to the Tehran. His cow dies. The villagers are afraid of what might happen once Hassan finds out his cow is dead. What will happen when he finds out?
After the earthquake of Guilan, the film director and his son, Puya, travel to the devastated area to search for the actors of the movie the director made there a few years ago, Khane-ye ... See full summary »
An elderly couple go about their routine of cleaning their gabbeh (a intricately-designed rug), while bickering gently with each other. Magically, a young woman appears, helping the two ... See full summary »
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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