Monday, May 9, 2011


Watched tonight the Majid Majidi's movie about a young Iranian man (apparently Kurdish) who is a bit lazy and angry, who suddenly finds himself replaced from his somewhat cushy job as tea boy/messman by a younger Afghan boy who is more efficient and better liked by the construction crew to which he is attached. But he discovers it is a ruse, and the young boy is actually a girl, who is breaking cultural conventions to hide her identity and work alongside men in order to bring much-needed cash home. The Iranian boy matures as he keeps her identity hidden and falls in love, but this is no typical romance. It is also a commentary on the use of illegal labor (Afghans who had fled the Taliban in their homeland for a better opportunity), which mirrors that of illegal workers here, and provides insights into the boss/worker relationship in Iran. Much of the photography is gritty and gloomy, and one is surprised by the manual labor undertaken on the project, especially in modern times (the film was made in the late 1990s). One of the most poignant scenes is when he comes face-to-face with her, and they look into each other's eyes, and then she drops the chador over her head.The actors are very good. I really enjoyed it.

I wonder what happened to Zahra Bahrami (who plays the young girl). She is not listed as having acted in another movie. A woman with the same name, however, was executed this year in Iran for drug smuggling (although most people believe it was because of her support of reform). I hope they are not the same, though that does not diminish the tragedy of the woman's death.

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