Baran

Baran

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Despite the "axis of evil" message from George Dubya's West Wing, Iran has taken in well over a million refugees from Afghanistan. Although not officially assimilated into that society, they have become the mainstay of a black economy, exploited and appreciated in equal measure.

Majid Majidi's follow up to the internationally acclaimed The Colour Of Paradise is an emotionally strong and politically potent piece of cinema. The location is a half completed building site, where the majority of the workforce consists of illegal Afghanis. When one of them has an accident, there is no compensation, but the next day a fellow worker brings the injured man's young son, Rahmat, to take his place.

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Baran means rain and concerns Lateef, an Iranian teenager, whose cushy job of making tea and preparing a midday meal for the men, is taken by Rahmat, because he is not strong enough to carry the sacks of concrete. At first, he bullies the younger boy, who remains sad and submissive, but, later, when he discovers more about him, his attitude changes and he becomes his protector.

The film is astonishingly beautiful in its pristine silver light, with snow on the ground and a weak sun low over the city. The workers are well trained to disappear when the government men turn up for inspection. Although the site manager has a harsh tongue, his sympathy for the refugees is genuine.

Majidi's mastery of his craft enables such a simple story to capture your heart.

Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2002
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A strange passion erupts on an Iranian building site among illegal Afghan workers.
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Director: Majid Majidi

Writer: Majid Majidi

Starring: Zahra Bahrami, Hossein Abedini, Mohammad Amir Naji, Abbas Rahimi, Gholam Ali Bakhshi

Year: 2001

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: Iran

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