Thursday, 5 May 2011

Baran - rain

2001 by Majid Majidi

Lateef works in a construction site, supervised by a straight and kind man Memar. When Najaf fells down and breaks his leg, Zoltan brings the 14 year old Rehmat, Najaf's child, to the site and Memar promptly takes him for work. Rehmat seems too weak for the heavy jobs and Memar swaps his work with that of Lateef. Lateef was having an easy time just preparing stupid food and tea for the workers. He is quite angry with Rehmat but soon realise that Rehmat is a girl. His attitude to Rehmat changes and he is more kind and protective of her. Soon he realise that he is in love, but he cannot let her know about that or even look at her straight. Rehmat soon has to leave the site, as she belongs to a group of Afghan's without legal permits. Lateef tries to find her and when he realises the terrible situation of their family, as Najaf cannot help, he even withdraws all his savings from Memar and sends it with Zoltan. But Najaf actually asks Zoltan to take that money and leave for Afghanistan as Zoltan's family is really broke. Lateef then even sells his work permit for some money, to help Najaf. But to his shock he finds out that Najaf also has decided to go back to Afghanistan. Before he sees them off, he looks directly at Rehmat, for the first time, and earns a beautiful smile from her.

A beautiful love story, of untold love, in the background of poverty.

Typical of all Majidi's movies, its told in a very simple way, with minimum dialogues, but with a great pace ideal for the movie. For some reason, we might all feel that Rehmat may not be a girl from the first scenes itself, could be seen as a drawback. But from the moment Lateef realise that and he starts feeling for her, the movie takes a huge leap into a very special love story. His pain, when he sees Rehmat doing heavy jobs at other sites, is beautifully told. It is wonderful how Mr. Majidi always manages to convey deep feelings without the help of mundane dialogues. And he still manage to keep an attractive pace is really an important point of all Majidi movies. In Baran, we would also notice that he has used some kind of background scores only for 3 or 4 scenes. But still this movie does not look at all, like a pretending artistic one or like a documentary. In fact we may not notice anything at all other than Lateef and Rehmat. Brilliant direction. I dont remember seeing a love story in which the heroine doesnt have a single dialogue.

The last scene, where Lateef is sure that he is seeing Rehmat for the last time and runs in to help her pick the vegetables from the ground, is the real highlight of this film. For the first time, they have a lovely eye contact and the shot of their hands crossing each other, picking the vegetables, spoke a lot, much more than many love songs. Well it could be interpreted that way. But like Lateef, we too are not sure if Rehmat realises his love or loves him. For sure she must know that the Lateef, helping her pick up the vegetables, is a changed boy. I simply hope, she was damn sure about his love for her. But then, there is this shot of Rehmat pulling down her veil (of her Purdah), covering her face from Lateef. May be that is because she really realised there was something special about Lateef in that moment and felt shy and wanted to impress him. Culturally it is important for her to pull down the veil. So may be..

From the side of Lateef, may be it was a mistake he didnt express anything at all. As girls always pretend as they never knew, they want all to be told to them. As one, who had many untold loves, I really feel for Lateef.

But I have to say, it is Mohammad Amir Naji as Memar, who did the best performance in this movie. May be I am too much of a fan of this amazing actor. Lateef and Rehmat, they were all good, but Mr. Naji is the best.

Yet another simple and beautiful movie from Iran.