Oil Children | Chicago Reader

Oil Children

Iranian director Ebrahim Forouzesh (The Key, The Jar) reveals the dark side of the world's addiction to oil with this 2001 drama about an impoverished family living at the edge of the Iranian oil fields. Abandoned by the father, who'd left to work in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia but never returned, the family members work every angle to get by—scrimping, taking odd jobs, stealing flowers to sell at a cemetery—while the oil company employees, living in gated compounds far from the village, enjoy comfortable homes on beautiful irrigated plots of land. The companies intrude on every aspect of the peasants' lives: pipelines crisscross the land, gullies are filled with pools of oily wastewater, and huge plumes of flame leap up from the parched ground. Yet the only time they come close to sharing in the natural riches is when they splash through the wastewater and skim off excess oil to sell. Forouzesh finds plenty of inequity but never preaches or shows his anger; like the Italian neorealists he just confronts us with the world in all its squalor and leaves us to our own consciences. In Farsi with subtitles. 84 min.

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