Language : Iranian
Director : Majid Majidi
Karim works as an Ostrich farmer in Teheran. He leads a very contented life. He is always helpful to his neighbours and he ingrains qualities like honesty and altruism in the other members of his family, which includes his wife, his favourite daughter (all father’s have one), a son and a younger daughter? One fine day an Ostrich from the farm goes missing and Karim is blamed for the same and removed from his job. This takes Karim to the city where he unwittingly ends up being a motorcycle taxi-driver. He is ferrying people and goods and in the process he starts changing bit by bit. From someone who is pained when a customer leaves without collecting his change to someone who is no longer bothered about anything much besides his own home, Karim quickly changes into a very selfish man. The small acts of generosity soon start disappearing much to the chagrin of his wife and kids. And then one small accident disables Karim temporarily and his family and neighbours get back the Karim they once knew. He realizes his folly and as always all ends well with the Ostrich returning and Karim getting back his job. Like someone pointed out it has an uncanny resemblance to ‘The Bicycle Thief’ but is a fab watch nevertheless. The Ostrich dance scene is simply superb. And for people in our country the novelty of an Ostrich farm should be something to watch this one for. A very simple story well-told. I watched this thanks to IFFK 2008.
Most people would recall ‘Baran’, ‘Children of heaven’ (rights bought by Priyadarshan for another remake) and ‘Colour of Paradise’ by the same director. Also watch by Majid Majidi ‘Father’ (Pedar), ‘The Willow Tree’ (Beed-e majnoon) and ‘Barefoot to Herat’ (Pa beranheh ta Herat) – fab. For more about the director http://www.cinemajidi.com/
Also watched Anurag Kashyap’s “Gulaal’ and loved it. Brilliant performances too and my good friend who I watched it with sure will agree. I don’t care what the reviews have to say. I remember most critics on TV and Print trashing ‘Dev D’ until it became a hit. Here is what Anurag Kashyap supposedly said about one of the critics : “Taran Adarsh is the son of the person who made the film ‘Gupt Gyan’. It is Taran’s favourite movie. Whatever he knows about cinema is from that movie.” I am sure he has his reasons for the outburst.
And check out ‘Naaku Mukka’. Some fab work from Chennai that won Senthil the only Gold, for India, at the Adfest 2009 Asia Pacific Advertising Festival. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEU_qyiQmYQ&feature=related
Useless trivia : Majid Majidi was a theatre actor from the age of 14 and has starred in quite a few movies including Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s ‘Boycott’(Baykot) before he took to direction. Hope to access that one. ‘Song of the Sparrows’ was Iran’s official selection for the Best Foreign Language Film to the Academy Awards 2009.
While on this I suggest you check out Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s take on Philosophy, Religion and Sex in ‘Scream of the Ants’. Remember watching it at IFFK 2006.