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Awesome Persian Movies

Children of Heaven (Bacheha-Ye Aseman)

Director: Majid Majidi (1997, Persian, 89 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (82%), IMDB (8.4), Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Watch online: NetFlix.

Similar movies: childhood.

Summary: A lovely movie whose memories make me smile :) The main characters are a young boy Ali and his little sister Zahra who live in a poor part of Tehran. Ali loses Zahra's shoes. The two of them decide to keep it a secret and a series of events unfolds. The storyline is heartwarming.

The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1998, losing to the Italian film Life is Beautiful.

 

The Color of Paradise (Rang-E Khoda)

Director: Majid Majidi (2000, Persian, 90 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (87%), IMDB (8.0), Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: childhood, family.

Summary: A beautiful movie that explores why things are the way they are - what did people do wrong to merit their circumstances? Of course, there are no answers to these questions, only a sense of wonder and acceptance.

The main characters are a blind boy Mohammed and his dad Hashem, who is a semi-skilled laborer. For the last five years, Hashem has been having a tough time raising a family of three after his wife died. Raising a blind child has added to the challenge. So Hashem makes a trip to his village with Mohammed to get married again. Watch the movie to see how events unfold.

One of the best scenes is Mohammed's arrival in his village, where his 10-year old sisters are living with their grandmom. The squeals and the smiles of his sisters are heartwarming.

Bird sounds are prominent throughout the movie. During my hikes, I had started paying attention to bird sounds. Earlier this year, at a gas station, I remember telling a friend about the myriad birds that live among us in the trees. They wake up early morning and start chirping merrily

Mohammed's exploration of beauty around him through his fingers is nicely presented. Landscape shots and scenes in forests are gorgeous.

A detailed review by FilmSufi (read only after watching the movie).

 

Baran

Director: Majid Majidi (2001, Persian, 94 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (89%), IMDB (7.7), Amazon, Roger Ebert.

Watch online: NetFlix.

Similar movies: romance.

Summary: A beautiful movie! A simple minded Persian boy (Latif) falls madly in love with a young Afghan refugee girl. Her name is Baran, which means rain. To feed her family of six, the girl has to work in harsh conditions because her dad was badly injured at a construction site. Out of sheer compassion (not to impress her or win her over), Latif goes to great lengths to alleviate her suffering.

The two main characters hardly talk to each other. Everything is unsaid. In the entire movie, the girl never speaks a sentence. She is shy and quiet but approves of him.

Some romantic scenes made me smile. In one scene, Latif goes to the spot where the girl used to feed pigeons. He finds her hair clip with a single strand of hair caught in it :) In another scene, when he is looking for her, he meets an old cobbler who perchance remarks, "From the hot fire of being apart, comes the flame that burns the heart." :) The last scene highlights the beauty and ephemerality of all life experiences: the boy smiles happily when he sees an imprint of Baran's shoe in mud. Then it starts raining :) Baran means rain.

Other than the love story, the movie is sobering. It reminded me of harsh living conditions that so many of us endure daily. I feel blessed, very blessed.

 

The Song of Sparrows (Avaze Gonjeshk-Ha)

Director: Majid Majidi (2008, Persian, 96 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (98%), IMDB (7.9), Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: city life, family.

Summary: Nice movie. The story shapes up organically. The main character is Karim, a middle aged dad who struggles to provide for his family. After losing his job in an ostrich farm, he picks up odd jobs in the city. The differences in the pace of life and the value systems of people in villages and cities is brought out well. City life starts transforming Karim but occasional sightings of ostriches bring him back to his roots. Overall, the movie is about joys and sorrows, the ups and downs of life.

A detailed review by FilmSufi (read only after watching the movie).

 

A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)

Director: Asghar Farhadi (2012, Persian, 123 mins)

Reviews: RottenTomatoes (99%), IMDB (8.4), Amazon.

Watch online: YouTube.

Similar movies: city life, depressing, family, intense, separation.

Summary: An intense family drama that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2012. The story involves two families. The first family is a middle class couple with an 11-year old daughter. The husband's father lives with them. He has Alzheimer's. The second family is a poor family with a 5-year old daughter. Both families have troubles of their own, a lot of which is due to the strong personalities of the two husbands. Acting is great. Character development is awesome. The story is gripping. It kept me engaged throughout. An Amazon review aptly puts it, "The only film where people watch the end credits with bated breath!" :)

After watching the movie, I read the story at Wikipedia and understood a few moments in the movie better.

 

2 Nov 2013
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