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Posts Tagged ‘Abbas Kiarostami’

baranFor the last couple posts I’ve been focusing on Iranian films instead my usual Bollywood theme.  The other posts have been on directors Abbas Kiarostami and Tahmineh Milani, and this time I saw a film by director Majid Majidi.  Baran (2001) is a film the mesmerized me.  It was so beautiful to watch and was nearly free of dialogue, telling its story through stark, yet beautiful images.

Baran (Persian: باران) is a 2001 Iranian film directed by Majid Majidi, based on an original script by Majid Majidi. The movie is set during recent times in which there are a large number of Afghan refugees living on the outskirts of Tehran. Almost a silent movie, Baran won a number of awards both nationally and internationally for the director and writer Majid Majidi. The movie is about maturing of the character Lateef and his silent romantic interests in an Afghan refugee, Baran, in the construction site where he works. It is necessary to describe the work force at the site to fully appreciate the movie. At the point the story is told, in 2001, there are many Afghan refugees in Iran due to the war with Russia and also due to the oppressive regime of Taliban. There are many Afghan refugees working at the site for far less wages than the Iranian workers. In Iran, the Afghan refugees are not allowed to stay anywhere except the refugee camps unless authorized and hence the Afghan workers need to travel everyday from the camp to the work site. The Afghan refugees also need authorization cards to work in the country but it is difficult to obtain. Hence many of the Afghans are working illegally which is depicted in the movie. Lateef, who is an Iranian, is having an easy time at the construction site with the job of making tea and lunch. He always seems to be making witty remarks which are not taken by some of the other characters in a similar manner, especially Faraj. He is also shown to be very careful with his money and saves every single pocket money he gets. He is also shown to be intolerant towards doves. One day when Lateef comes to work he finds one of the Afghan workers, Najaf, has been injured and is being taken to the hospital. The next day, Najaf sends his son – Rahmat – to work, since he is unable to work with a broken leg and he has many children to take care of. Rahmat is a weakling and is unable to do to the heavy manual work at the construction site. Hence, the contractor, Memar, allocates Lateef’s easy job to Rahmat and Lateef has to help with the construction of the building. Lateef is sore about losing his comfy job and continuously torments Rahmat until he learns by accident that Rahmat is actually a girl. He is really sorry about his early acts and vehemently tries to be protective about Rahmat at the work site, trying to save her from Faraj and the inspectors. (source)

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For more information of the film, and other Majidi films, consult his website.  I also found a nice review of Baran HERE.

Here we are in the dismal, yet somehow lovely work site near Tehran:

baran.setting

On “her” first day of work, Rahmat (Zahra Bahrami), an Afghan refugee, is welcomed by Lateef (Hossein Abedini).  He offers Rahmat tea and even gives some work tips and bit of help here and there.baran.tea

Yet when Rahmet is given Lateef’s chai wallah job, Lateef is enraged, but not for long because he discovers Rahmet (aka Baran) is really a girl and that he has feelings for her.

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He even helps protect her from work site inspectors looking for the illegal immigrants working at the site.

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“Rahmat” has to leave the work site and Lateef spends time tracking her down, eventually finding her.  Lateef’s search is difficult and lonely, but he gets unexpected support and encouragement from strangers along the way.

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I had so many images from this film that are still playing in my mind.  One of the most gorgeous but sadly poignant scenes was when Lateef spies Baran from afar working in harsh conditions, pulling large rocks from an icy cold river.

baran.labor

If you’re interested, you can see Baran HERE. I’d also like to see Majidi’s 1997 filmChildren of Heaven (Bacheha ye Aseman) which sounds wonderful.  Please let me know if you’ve seen any of Majidi’s films and what you thought of them.

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Ten_DVDDosto, yesterday I explained my foray into Iranian cinema.  Today I’ll  tell you about another Iranian film I saw, Ten (2002)  directed by the illustirous  Abbas Kiarostami.

Ten (Persian: ده) is a 2002 Iranian film directed by Abbas Kiarostami and starring Mania Akbari. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and ranks at number 447 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The film is divided into ten scenes, each of which depict a conversation between an unchanging female driver (played by Mania Akbari) and a variety of passengers as she drives around Tehran. Her passengers include her young son (played by Akbari’s real life son, Amin Maher), her sister, a bride, a prostitute, and a woman on her way to prayer. One of the major plots during the film is the driver’s divorce from her (barely seen) husband, and the conflict that this causes between mother and son. Much of the cast were untrained as actors, and the film has an improvisatory element. Elements of the characters were based on the actual life of the main actress and her son. The film was recorded on two digital cameras, one attached to each side of a moving car, showing the driver and passenger respectively. The film explores personal social problems arising in Iranian society, particularly the problems of women. (source)

You may be thinking Sita-ji, what does this have to do with Bollywood or the Indian film industry? Well just DEKH who he’s compared with here, some bahut famous Indian film makers!

Though Kiarostami has been compared to Satyajit Ray, Vittorio de Sica, Éric Rohmer, and Jacques Tati, his films exhibit a singular style, often employing techniques of his own invention. (source)

and

Kiarostami, along with Jean Cocteau, Derek Jarman, and Gulzar, is part of a tradition of filmmakers whose artistic expressions are not restricted to one medium, but who show the ability to use other forms such as poetry, set designs, painting, or photography to relate their interpretation of the world we live in and to illustrate their understanding of our preoccupations and identities. (source)

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Now if Kiarostami is mentioned in the same company as Satyajit Ray and Gulzar, I say that I’ll see more of his films!

I found a few more Bollywood similarities, firstly, the mention of orphans, so very Bollywood, na?

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There is also a lot of sound metaphysical advice given out, also typically Bollywood.  One of my favorite parts came when Mania Akbari’s character tried to comfort her friend who was just dumped with  practical and spiritual advice. I also liked how her friend cut her hair all off in order to move on from her loss.  Here are some of those images:

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I’m almost done posting on Iranian filums and will show you one more tomorrow.  As usual, I’d love to hear you’ve seen this film or any more of  Kiarostami’s works.  I know I’d like to see more of his films, though my dil is firmly in the land of Indian films now and forever.

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