Iranian idyll

Blind ten-year-old Khorshid sees by listening to the sounds around him. By using his hands as antennae....

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: September 12, 2009 11:44:28 pm

The Silence

Mohsen Makhmalbaf

Shemaroo

Rs 349

Blind ten-year-old Khorshid sees by listening to the sounds around him. By using his hands as antennae. He caresses plums to check for ripeness,and feels bread for its freshness. His companion,the pretty Nadereh,leads him through the street,and he follows. And we look on,beguiled by the naturalistic flavours of one of greats of Iranian cinema,Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The Silence is wonderfully representative of the kind of film the director makes. There’s barely a plot,just people,and the lives they lead. The little boy works in a musical instruments shop,checking the strings of the rubaab for fidelity,having to deal with,at the same time,distinctly adult problems—the shop’s cantankerous owner,and a landlord who wants to raise the rent. Both the kids are marvellous: no one handles children as well as the Iranians. Keep an ear out for the way Beethoven’s Fifth has been used throughout,as well as in the rousing finale.

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