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The Willow Tree (2005)
"Beed-e majnoon" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  3 August 2007 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,354 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 12 user | 21 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

Youssef, a blind university professor, is suddenly diagnosed with a fatal disease and must undergo treatment in France. Back home, will he find the life he had before?

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Cast

Credited cast:
Parviz Parastui ...
Youssef
Roya Taymourian ...
Roya
Afarin Obeisi ...
Mother
Mohammad Amir Naji ...
Morteza
Melika Eslafi ...
Mariam
...
Pari (as Leila Outadi)
Mahmoud Behraznia ...
Mahmood
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dawlat Asadi ...
Puya
Melika Aslafi ...
Maryam
Ahmad Gavaheri ...
Cashani
Fouad Nahas ...
Dr. Roque
Edit

Storyline

Blind since childhood, Youssef has a devoted wife, loving daughter, and successful university career, but his affliction fills him with secret torment. As if in answer to his prayers, a clinic restores his sight- a miracle that is double-edged. Although this new world of sight and color floods him with ecstacy- the breathtaking images seen through his reawakened eyes include a dazzling vista of snow-blanketed hills, a shower of molten gold sparks in a jewlery foundry, an array of lollipop lights behind a rain-speckled car window- it also plunges him into a labyrinth of confusion and temptations. A pretty student begins to enclipse his previously invisible wife; he silently watches a subway pickpoket, who fixes him with a look of withering complicity. Eager to claim the lost life he feels he is owed but unable to take the next step, Youssef is inflamed with possibility and paralyzed with egoism. A resonant metaphor for life's second chances and a powerful parable of sigh and insight, ... Written by Arya

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

3 August 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Willow Tree  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,048 (USA) (3 August 2007)

Gross:

$25,525 (USA) (7 March 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
When a blessing becomes a curse
24 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the lyrical and touching Iranian drama "The Willow Tree," a middle-aged college professor, blind since the age of eight, regains his sight after undergoing a cornea transplant.

Through the years, Yusef has learned to function in a world of darkness. He even long ago stopped blaming God for his condition (he went blind while playing with firecrackers as a boy). Having made his peace with his situation, Yusef is now suddenly confronted with the unforeseen mixed blessing of regaining his sight. On the one hand, he yearns to be able to once again behold the vast and myriad beauties of the visual world; on the other, he risks losing the sense of security and comfort that comes from living in a world that is real and familiar to him.

Director Majid Majidi captures some of the visual sensory overload Yusef experiences when he is once again reunited with the sighted world, which includes seeing his wife and young daughter for the first time. And how will the change in his condition affect the couple's relationship - the roles each of them plays within that relationship, and the ways in which they interact with one another? For now that he is no longer dependent on others to get around and is free to do things on his own, Yusef begins to press against the tightly-bound parameters of his heavily circumscribed life, falling for a beautiful young student in one of his classes and becoming less willing to play the part of the uncomplaining, long-suffering victim to please his wife and mother who have found their own purpose and meaning in taking care of him all these years. Then Fate plays a cruel trick on him, making him realize that he can never be fully happy in either state of sightedness (Majidi doesn't cater to his audience's desire for an uplifting, happy ending).

To emphasize the way in which Yousef experiences the world, the movie features a hyper-sensitive soundtrack filled with the amplified sounds of birds chirping, water gurgling, leaves rustling, raindrops falling, etc. The only real disappointment is the musical score, which is often lugubrious, soupy and overly-emphatic.

Much of "The Willow Trees"'s success can be attributed to Parviz Parastui's subtle and wide-ranging performance in the lead role. As Yusef, Parastui runs the gamut from submissive introvert to railing despondent without hitting a single false note at either end.


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