Radio Dreams

94 minutes 2016

Writer-director Babak Jalali was born in Iran and educated in the UK, but somewhere along the way he must have encountered the old U.S. sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, which seems to have been the model for this laid-back comedy about a Persian-language radio station in San Francisco. All the archetypes are there: the grouchy station owner (Keyumars Hakim); the rebellious, idealistic announcer (Mohsen Namjoo); the beautiful station manager keeping the wacky staffers in line (Boshra Dastournezhad). The announcer, an exiled Iranian writer, has organized an on-air musical summit between the Afghani rock band Kabul Dreams (who play themselves) and their idols, Metallica, and the characters' anxious wait for the superstars to arrive provides Jalali with enough tension to sustain his succession of low-key, character-oriented gags. In English and subtitled Persian, Dari, and Assyrian.

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