Baran

The plight of illegal Afghan workers in Tehran provides the backdrop for this 2001 story of unrequited love, written and directed by Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven). At a construction site a cocky Iranian tea boy is angered by a new Afghan coworker but then discovers that the boy is really a girl. Majidi, who's prone to pictorialism, uses somber hues of gray and brown, except in scenes involving women, and favors meticulously composed overhead and dolly shots. The visuals can become preciously symbolic, and the boy's selfless devotion to the girl seems intended as an apology to Iran's refugees. Yet the film is remarkable for the naturalistic acting of its cast, particularly the tender performances of the two leads, Hossein Abedini and Zahra Bahrami. In Farsi and Dari with subtitles. 94 min.

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