Eye For Film >> Movies >> Asteroid (2021) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Life is tough for young carers wherever they are in the world. Although she manages very well given the extent of her disability, and still works for a living, Ebrahim’s mother would not be able to support herself and her younger children without his help – not without her husband and his older brother, who left for the city one day to find work and have not returned. With no way of contacting them, she simply hopes and prays that they have not been harmed and will return to the family, so that her 12-year-old boy won’t have to work so hard and can go to school. Ebrahim himself, however, is determined to find a means of improving their lives with or without help.
Ably played by the charismatic young Ebrahim Zarozehi, whose face looks prematurely aged but gives him a great range of expressions to work with, the boy has his eyes open for opportunity at every turn. We first meet him when he’s clinging to a date palm, shaking down fruit for its owner. Everywhere he goes, he gets talking people, and his eager smile and zest for hard work enable him to find all sorts of jobs. Though he isn’t always very good at them and sometimes gets in trouble as a result, he takes it in his stride. He is not only managing to feed the family, but to fund the building of a house in the village to make life easier for them, removing the need for constant commuting from their desert home.
Viewers may find inspiration in Ebrahim’s determination and his love for his family, but writer/director Mehdi Hosseinivand knows when to dial back on the big eyes and the soft golden light to remind us that this isn’t a quaint fantasy, it’s a picture of millions of children’s real day to day lives. What is being lost in the process? To what end might Ebrahim turn his talents if he had proper schooling and the chance to explore his real potential? Just because he can work doesn’t mean that he should, and the film’s deliberate lack of any real conclusion, pointing out that the longed-for house isn’t really going to change Ebrahim’s own life in a meaningful way, highlights the futility of such an existence – something which the boy seems to be aware of even though he’s wise enough to take pleasure in small things.
During moments of pleasure, his studied demeanour slips away and we see the real child within. The desert landscape is broad and flat, its few high sports revealing little that looks different, so thoughts os escape turn to the sky where, in one scene, a kite flutters wildly, a group of kids delighting in its movements. Later, an aeroplane will tumble down from that same pale blue expanse, making an emergency landing on the sand. The pilot’s presence thrills the kids and Ebrahim and his siblings climb into the cockpit of the downed craft, pretending to fly it, having the time of their lives. This is the stuff of life: not being limited to providing other people’s inspiration but having the chance to pursue one’s own dreams.Reviewed on: 18 Mar 2022