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Rhino Season (2012)
"Fasle kargadan" (original title)

6.8
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Kurdish-Iranian poet Sahel has just been released from a thirty-year prison sentence in Iran. Now the one thing keeping him going is the thought of finding his wife, who thinks him dead for over twenty years.

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Title: Rhino Season (2012)

Rhino Season (2012) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Sahel
...
Mina
...
Akbar Rezai
Caner Cindoruk
Arash Labaf ...
Son (as Twins/Male)
Ali Pourtash
...
Daughter (as Twins/Female)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan ...
Driver
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Storyline

Sahel, a poet from the shah era, and Mina, daughter of a wealthy family, are in love. Also Mina's driver is in love with her, as the revolution approaches. The driver becomes a high rank revolutionary and with this power incarcerates the couple. Sahel for 30 years and Mina for 10 years. After 10 years Mina is released and asks for the whereabouts of Sahel. She is told that Sahel has died. Meanwhile, the driver proposes her to stay with him. They travel together to Istanbul. After a further 20 years passes, Sahel is released. Then, he begins the search for his old lover. Written by kamyar

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Release Date:

26 October 2012 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Rhino Season  »

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User Reviews

 
A Terse Emotional Thriller from a Restricted Genius
26 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Pithy, clear minded dreams of life under tyranny from a master visual poet

I am just starting to become acquainted with Iranian cinema. Most Iranian filmmakers whose work makes it to the West are intellectuals who face persecution for telling the truth about what life is really like inside Iran. Some filmmakers go to prison for making films which are too honest (see the film "This is not a film," a documentary shot with a camera phone inside a famous director's home while he was on house arrest in Tehran awaiting the results of his verdict).

Knowing this sets the stage for Bahman Ghobadi's stunning "Rhino Season." Filmmaking in or about Iran appears to be mostly about how to tell your story with limited resources and the potential to be arrested (or even killed by a fatwa) for your work if you say something which angers the Iranian government. Rather than saying things directly, Iranian filmmakers tend to say other things which communicate the emotions the filmmaker wants the audience to feel, without saying exactly why you are supposed to feel that emotion.

This style can be confusing for people who are uneducated about Iranian politics or who do not understand Persian culture. However, it is also quite gut-wrenching if you understand the weight and importance of each line a master like Ghobadi puts into his work, knowing that people are risking their careers or even their lives to bring you this story, and that they only have so many lines, so many actors, and so much geographical/artistic freedom to do it.

One thing to know about Muslim culture in general is that it is very much centered around poetry. Poetry is a part of daily life and enables people to pull meaning out of lives of suffering lived under tyrannical dictatorships. However, outside of the current context, Iran (Persia) has been a center of some of the world's greatest poetry for almost 1500 years, and continues to be a center for some of the most poignant and cerebral Islamic artistic expression.

With all of these factors combined, "Rhino Season" is a gut wrenching emotional drama which transports you into the very center of the heart of a tormented people living under a tyrannical dictatorship. The "slow pace" noted by other reviewers is actually a foil for the continual, tormenting fear which the director assumes (probably wrongly) the audience will understand and take for granted (I deducted one star from my score for the film for this reason- if the film wasn't made for Iranians, who can truly understand it?). For those who can successfully empathize with those living under a brutal regime, the slowness of the characters to react to what is happening to them is shocking, and has challenging emotional ramifications for those under current Western Politics in Europe and the United States. "Would I move that slowly, if I were in the same situation?" "Am I reacting this slowly now?"

Thus the story "Rhino Season" is juxtaposed against the constant angst and the physical, mental, and emotional torment of governmental oppression, all of which become very real for all of the characters involved.

The poetry scenes provide the detached, dissociated commentary of the traumatized victims of an Irani regime, turning the suffering of an entire nation into pithy, clear minded dreams and translating them into the universal language of emotion.

=may contain spoilers= The plot of the film is mostly centered around jealousy, and how jealousy takes advantage of institutional injustice to achieve its insane, diabolical ends, taking the perpetrator to the very limits of selfishness. Once jealousy has had its way, the hanging possibility of restoration is almost tormenting in its pressure upon the viewer, making the film almost unbearable to watch (almost). However, the true meaning of love is deeply mirrored in the heart of this film.

In conclusion, this is a thinking movie. It's not a "popcorn/Friday night date night" movie. It's a movie that will challenge you and stay with you for the rest of your life, and which requires all of your intellect to understand and engage. If you are looking for cheap thrills, or "raw entertainment," you will definitely be disappointed. However, if you want to sit inside of the mind of a person who truly understands modern Iran from the heart for 80 minutes, you will probably find yourself better prepared for the political shifts which are hanging in the air in the West right now.


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