Baran - 1999
Directed by Majid Majidi
Young Lateef (Hossein Abedini) discovers that the new Afghan laborer at the construction site where he works is actually a woman disguised as a man struggling to support her family. Upon learning this, Lateef becomes infatuated with her and does all in his power to help her survive, even at the cost of his own well-being.
Color, 1 hour 36 minutes, Farsi/Dari
Firouzan Rank # 7
|Mohammad Amir Naji||Memar|
|Director of Photography||Mohammad Davoudi|
|Sound Recordist||Yadollah Najafi|
|Production Designer||Behzad Kezzazi|
|Sound Mixer||Mohammad Reza Delpaak|
Lateef (Hossein Abedini) starts his work day by picking up bread for the construction workers.
Questioning the wisdom of letting his boss and care-taker hold on to his wages.
Lateef discovers that the new Afghani worker, "Rahmat" (Zahra Bahrami) is actually a girl.
A new found curiosity in "Rahmat."
Watching "Rahmat" feed the pigeons.
Searching for the Afghani girl after she must leave the construction job.
The Afghani girl struggles at her new job.
A smile of thanks.
Looking down at the footprint.
A last reminder of Baran.
By David Lipfert Offoffoff.com
Recent events have given the lone Iranian film in this year's New York Film Festival lineup added relevance. While "Baran" is essentially a boy-meets-girl flick, the situation of Afghani refugees in Iran is no less central. Their undocumented status means they can get only the lowest-paying jobs, such as the unskilled slots at mushrooming construction sites in well-heeled North Tehran. Mix them with another hard-up group, ethnic-Turkish workers from northwest Iran, and combustion is guaranteed.
As building-site gopher, wise guy Lateef (Hossein Abedini) runs errands and makes tea for the other workers. He never misses a chance to shoot off his mouth and then jump in for a quick fight. Things change when Rahmat (Zahra Bahrami) shows up to replace injured father Najaf. Continued
By A.O. Scott The New York Times
According to a note that appears on-screen at the beginning of "Baran," 1.4 million refugees from Afghanistan are living in Iran. In the months since the film was completed, that number has most likely increased greatly, and the fate of the Afghans who have fled 20 years of war and deprivation has become suddenly and unexpectedly relevant to American movie audiences. Our lives and theirs, separated by geographical distance, cultural differences and almost unimaginable material disparities, seem much closer now than they might have a month ago. Continued
By Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid
If you've only seen one Iranian film, odds are that it was directed by Majid Majidi. While not exactly mainstream, his films come with a pre-packaged sweetness that greater Iranian directors like Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf eschew in favor of shining brilliance. And the distributor Miramax can sniff out this sweetness like a dog can smell treats.
Majidi directed the first Oscar-nominated Iranian film, "Children of Heaven," which is a very good film about a boy racing to win a pair of shoes. His follow-up, the awkward "The Color of Paradise," is probably the worst of the 20 or so Iranian films I've seen to date. It concerns a blind boy and his overbearing father. Continued
By Peter Rainer New York Magazine
The Iranian director Majid Majidi, who made "The Color of Paradise," has a marvelous eye for composition, yet the suffering in his films, and there's plenty of it, never seems picturesque. His new film, "Baran," is about Lateef (Hossein Abedini), an Iranian laborer on a construction site who develops an unspoken ardor for Baran (Zahra Bahrami), an illegal Afghan immigrant trying to pass as a boy in order to support her family. It's an elliptical tragedy in which the fate of its characters takes on a larger significance while never losing its intimacy. When the girl turns away from Iran and goes behind her burka, we are watching not just the donning of a garment but the closing-down of a life.
By David Ng Images Journal
"Baran" is set in Iran and follows a teenaged construction worker named Lateef (Hossein Abedini). Lateef if is Iranian, as are most of the workers who toil daily at what must be a large suburban office building but whose dank, crumbling walls more closely resemble the remnants of an air raid. Among the workers are a few Afghans. Because of their illegal status, the Afghans must hide whenever government inspectors call, which happens quite often, sending the site manager, a gruff but soft-hearted man named Memar, into fits of hysterics as he corals his motley work force from one hiding place to another. Memar himself is of undetermined ethnicity (he speaks both Farsi and Turkish), which does nothing to ingratiate him with Lateef, who already suspects him of embezzling the workers’ salary. Lateef and Memar fight constantly. There are undeniable racial overtones in their scuffles but director/writer Majid Majidi tends to diffuse the tension with comedy and the results are amusing but watered down. Just about the only retribution Lateef suffers is being relegated to the post of kitchen boy. Continued
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