Deserted Station

Deserted Station


Reviewed by: Trinity

On a pilgrimage to Mashad from Tehran, a couple breakdown far from any major town. The husband, a photographer, seeks help at a nearby village and encounters a teacher who offers to help. Whilst the husband and teacher go off to find a spare part, the wife, who used to be a teacher, takes over the lessons for the children, who live in this strange deserted place, without any men, apart from the teacher and an old signal guard. As the day draws on, the children help to bring a new hope and life into her heart.

Filmed in a remote location in the Senman province, found by accident whilst Alireza Raisian and Abbas Kiarostami were on a photography trip, Deserted Station is a beautiful, touching film. The landscapes and buildings give a perfect sense of being there, seeing the children running up and down the steps to their classroom. This is important, when the men disappear off on the motorcycle, for now it is the very buildings and earth which provide the solid foundation for the woman to rebuild her confidence and self worth.

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Perhaps, the most successful part of the film is its simplicity. There are no railings against oppression here, although there are hints that all is not what it seems: where are all the young women being taken? Why does the teacher fight so hard to protect these children?

These fascinating glimpses, never fully explained, allow you to imagine your own backstory to this parable. Maybe, this is nothing more than an illusion, or perhaps it is just a small community trying to do the best in difficult circumstances.

The deserted station of the title, with its decaying train carriages, forms the location for a turning point sequence, with the children playing hide-and- seek with the woman, their voices echoing like little ghosts. It invokes an incredible sense of isolation and loneliness, a feeling of having the security of belonging snatched away from you, and sets the scene for an emotional ending.

One of the best films to have come out of Iran recently, Deserted Station manages to layer a simple tale of acceptance with undertones of intrigue and frustration.

Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2003
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Deserted Station packshot
Story about a couple stuck in the desert evolves into a modern parable.
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Director: Alireza Raisian

Writer: Kambozia Partovi

Starring: Leila Hatami, Nezam Manouchehri, Mehran Rajabi, Mahmoud Pak Neeyat

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Iran


EIFF 2003

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