Thursday, December 3, 2009

Color of Paradise

*Majid Majidi*Iran*95 minutes*

Mohammed is a blind boy and we have a well researched account of the world of the blind. The film starts in a school for the blind with blind teachers and we see the world in which touch and sound are the "windows" to the world.

The boy's father does not want to be burdened with a life long responsibility of looking after the blind boy. The movie is about the boy's overwhelming need for love and his feelings of rejection.

Iran is one of the most mountainous countries in the world and we are treated to an overdose of natural splendor--the bird song, the unspoilt mountain vistas, mists uprising, torrents of clear water,  mountain folk and there endearing pastoral ways. Seems far too good to be true, this two dimensional picture postcard Garden of Eden. The colours are  dazzling and brilliant. There is an episode of a drowning mule being swept downstream. In any case one can be grateful for the geography lesson since I too have held the rather silly idea that the Middle East is all desert, burquas and camels. This is more like the Indian Himalayas, Kashmir or Himachal.

The characters are quite lacking in dimension and we get a sugary tale of a god fearing society overflowing with love, compassion and piety. This rang-biranga nazaara of jannat is a rather non-categorisable cinema which is neither bolly nor holly. Perhaps one could put it in the general direction of  It's a Wonderful Life without the power and finesse.

A rather flat fairy tale. I was rather taken by the same director's Baran even to the extent of comparing him to Ray. Since then having refreshed my memory of Ray by seeing the first two films of the Apu trilogy, and digested this one ( three and a half stars from Ebert ) I have to revise myself to say that Majidi is no-where near the sophistication and universality of the great Bengali master.

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