Some quick notes (yeah right) on Majid Majidi's newest film, Baran
, a love story of sorts, between a young Iranian day laborer and an Afghani girl who, due to her father's injury, is forced to dress as a boy and work a construction job (first we get the obligatory antagonism, as the girl, Baran, under the name Rahmat, replaces Lateef in his role as construction site gofer/cook; which lasts precisely to the moment when Lateef learns Baran's secret). While at times, Majidi seems to be channeling De Sica (neo-realism + sentimentality), this film is much less sentimental, especially when compared to The Color of Paradise
, most of the time it is quiet and muted, and I really enjoyed the cinematography. Like The Color of Paradise
is sort of a theological/moral play, as Lateef is transformed, via his unspoken love, from a selfish teenager to a paragon of Islamic charity. While watching the film, I couldn't help but think of two other, similar, yet far superior, films: Abbas Kiarostami's Through the Olive Trees
, with it's portrait of young Iranian lovers, and the Dardenne's brothers La Promesse
, with it's portrait of exploited, poor refugee workers. Sure, Baran
is watchable, and even enjoyable, but I would rather sit down and watch those other two films.