Combustible Celluloid
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With: Hassan Pourshirazi, Younes Ghazali, Mohammad Rabbani, Mohammad Shirvani, Omid Zare, Mohammad Rabbanipour
Written by: Mohammad Rasoulof
Directed by: Mohammad Rasoulof
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Persian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 92
Date: 04/23/2010

The White Meadows (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Trail of Tears

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rahmat (Hasan Pourshirazi) is a collector of human tears, perpetually rowing his boat between the islands on Iran's Lake Urmia and landing wherever duty calls. At first, he attends the funeral of a beautiful young girl, but is surprised when he tries to steal a look under the shroud and discovers a very much alive, boy stowaway. He agrees to take the boy on as an apprentice, but Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof (Iron Island) refuses to focus on anything so narratively trite. Rather, he focuses on a series of incidents that are superstitious, bizarre, moving, and terrifying. In one, citizens speak into glass jars, which are then strapped to one man's back; the man is lowered into a well to deliver the jars (and the wishes/complaints therein) but must return back before sunrise. Rasoulof creates some astonishingly beautiful shots filled with water and sky and strange land formations, but the movie's mood is always slightly, deliberately cockeyed, as if weighed down with too much salt.

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