Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Pedar - the father

1996 by Majid Majidi

Mehrollah's, a teenager, father gets killed while teaching him to ride a motor bike. To support his poor family, mother and 3 young sisters, Mehrollah goes to the nearby town to work. After long time, he is back to his village, with a bundle full of gifts for his mother and sisters. On arrival in his village, he is told by his friend Latif, that his mother had married a police man. Mehrollah is really affected by the news. He goes to the policeman's home, throws away his gift bundle and returns. Later he confronts his mother for the reason for this marriage. The mother confirms that there was no other way than to marry this gentle man, who also spend a lot of money when his sister got ill. Mehrollah however cannot accept the truth and he wants to teach the police man a lesson. When Mehrollah gets injured, the policeman takes him to his own home where the mother takes care of him. Back to normal health, Mehrollah steals the policeman's service revolver and elopes. His step father is mad and sets out in search of Mehrollah. He spots Mehrollah in the town, arrests him and proceeds back to the village, on his bike. Enroute, the bike doesnt work and they have to walk through the desert, a tedious journey which brings them closer.

I am not sure if any other country in the world makes so many simple, but beautiful, movies like Iran. Here is yet another simple story from Iran, told nicely.

Mehrollah's anger and madness at his step father and his love for his sisters are all so nicely told, but I am afraid it doesnt clarify the reason why he is so mad at the police man, inspite of being told that he is a nice man and he spend a lot of money for the treatment of his sister. The step father is also ready to accept Mehrollah as a son and even welcomes him to his home, but Mehrollah is really mad at this man. Is it because, he is not happy that his mother remarried without checking with him, or is it that he lost his place as the bread earner for his mother and sisters or is it simple jealousy, am afraid it is not clear.

There are more than a few very touching and funny scenes in this movie. Mehrollah's attempt to kidnap his sisters, his reunion with his sisters, his fight with his mother are all so well shot. So is his attempt to escape from his step father while they are on the bike. And their journey afterwards through the desert, till the end, is definitely brilliant. The way their feelings come out for each other, amidst games played by nature, I would say, is definitely the highlight of this movie. Mehrollah, in the beginning of the movie, had lost a photograph of him with his father in the stream. In the climax, just after he had pulled his step father to a stream, a family photo (his mother and sisters with the step father) falls out from the father and flows across to Mehrollah. This was quite poetic way of saying Mehrollah was accepting his new family.

Mehrollah is definitely the majore player here, but I was more impressed by the performance of the step father and the boy Latif. Latif acts like a stupid, hard working and suffering, boy who is like the mediator between Mehrollah and his mother and his innocence and naivity was quite nice to watch. The child actor did so well and they way he cried, when he is caught and put back in a bus by the polce man , was brilliant. So was his betrayal of Mehrollah during the kidnapping scene. Mohammed Kasebi as the policeman was also really good. The mother also had to do some really nice subtle expressions.

The movie also has some good bits of music and a simple, but excellent, cinematography.

This is still not as great as Children of Heaven or Song of Sparrows, but I liked Pedar very much. 


  1. Haven't u seen Majidi's BARAN and Color of Paradise?

  2. Not yet Boss. I had got both these cds long back, but the subtitles were horrible in those. They are in my must watch list now.

    Thanks Rakesh