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The Color of Love
The Color of Love
Actor: N/A (documentary)
Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
UR     2007     1hr 44min

During the weeklong Ashura festival in the ancient city of Shiraz, the older generation performs cathartic rituals while the city's youth are left to their own devices. They spend this time cruising the public squares, hop...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: N/A (documentary)
Director: Maryam Keshavarz
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Studio: Ryko Music Distribution (Back Order)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/29/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

Holy Days and Passion Plays
Caesar M. Warrington | Lansdowne, PA United States | 03/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A young woman watches her otherwise mild-mannered husband instruct their little boy on the proper way of using a whip across his back for the upcoming Ashura processions. Later that night, the mother, filled with loving pride, will soothe the welts on her child's bruised back with salves and cuddles.

Nighttime scenes of pious mourning over the martyrdom of the Muslim prophet's grandson, Imam Hossein, alternate with those of young men ogling passing women in manteaus and headscarves, offering them love poems as well as names and phone numbers from cars or on densely crowded street corners.

Such were some of the goings-on in the Iranian city of Shiraz at the height of 2003's Ashura festivities. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was two years away from the presidency and the so-called reformist policies of his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, was allowing Iranians some semblance of those personal freedoms they'd had under the Shah. Thus, while the very young were being taught the proper displays of Shi'a piety, those in their teens and twenties were taking advantage of the season's ceremonial distractions to meet and socialize with the opposite sex.

COLOR Of LOVE was Iranian-American Maryam Keshavarz's first ever documentary and the 20something filmmaker did a superb job capturing footage of the flirtatious glances and cautious passing of notes by Iranians of her generation.

Framed within the context of the question, "What is love?" Keshavarz interviews her relatives and their friends, showing that despite efforts to appear worldly and sophisticated, even cynical, these young Iranians desire romantic love; most importantly, they want the freedom to experience this love by choice and on their own terms. Even Ehson and Sara, the aforementioned religious couple who were preparing their little boy for the self-flagellation of Ashura, faced the anger and resistance of their families by breaking with tradition and "marrying for love." If conservative supporters of the Islamic Republic increasingly are ignoring the will of their families by entering into relationships and marriages of their own choosing, what should the prediction be for those secular-minded youth who vastly outnumber them?

The weakness of this documentary is that questions like this--or even harder ones that would inquire about Iran's boom in premarital sex, promiscuity, or the country's growing underground market in pornography and prostitution--aren't asked. Considering, however, that Ms. Keshavarz was working with her aunts and cousins, her avoidance is quite understandable. Since the time of this documentary's production, the regime has returned to the hard line policies of the Islamic revolution's early days. Satellite dishes have been forcibly removed from homes, internet use has been curtailed. Thousands of clothing shops have been closed down while the police and their thug allies have stepped up attacks on everybody from hairstylists and musicians to ordinary students and housewives. "This society kills true love," a man in the documentary tells Ms. Keshavarz. After five years who knows what has happened to him or to some of the others in this documentary.
Get it!
Jonathan | Chicago, IL USA | 07/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You're not going to see a more powerful, funny, or intimate portrait of young people in Iran on film. Maryam Keshavarz has a kind of access and insight that goes beyond the usual shallow 'axis of evil' shorthand. Buy one for yourself, and one for Condolezza Rice.
Beautiful film, highly recommended
B. Shooshani | san francisco, ca | 08/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"a beautiful look at the relationship between spirituality and love. this documentary seeks to answer the age old question of what makes for true love and succeeds!"
Surprisingly Attractive
Cary B. Barad | Baltimore, MD | 09/25/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This subtitled film is a documentary of sorts with no professional actors. It is a series of interviews interspersed with dramatic scenes of Tehran during a religious festival marked by self-flagellation and beautiful mournful chanting. The people themelves appear to be middle class and are surprisingly attractive, racy and modern in their thoughts and comments. A lot of attention is given to the youth--their courtship and mating patterns under a stern fundamentalist governement. I gave it only 3-Stars due to a general lack of structure and a lot of disconnected elements."