Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Santuri The Music Man|
Actors: Golshifteh Farahani, Roya Taymourian, Masoud Rayegan, Bahram Radan, Kianoosh Gerami
Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
From celebrated Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui (The Cow; The Cycle) comes this contemporary drama about a musician who plays the santoor, an ancient stringed instrument. Unfortunately, Santouri is also addicted to heroin... more »
A Masterful Portrait of Modern Iran, Humanity, and Art.
Nimster | Pasadena, CA, USA | 12/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Veteran Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui passionately crafts a haunting portrait of an artist corrupted by society.
The instrument of the artist is the Santour-which playing on in Farsi is a euphemism for injecting heroin into one's veins, as slapping the veins is very similar to the way the instrument is played. The artist is Ali Bolourchi is banned by the Islamic Republic of Iran from performing in public and is forced to perform only in private parties that pay in drugs, alcohol, and chump change. His family essentially disowns him as they do not approve of music as an occupation. Ali's wife, Hanieh, the beautiful piano virtuoso, leaves him after his addiction develops into a huge part of his lifestyle. When reflecting, Ali claims his problems began when his wife left him, even his addiction is what forced her to leave him; he doesn't realize that his problems began when his art was first stifled.
What results from the censorship of the music is a human broken down by drugs and thrown into a spiral of corruption and addiction. Mehrjui's portrait of Ali Santoori is one of contemporary Iran, where authoritarianism and fundamentalism has been a factor for an uncontrollable drug addiction widespread among the population of the young nation.
The film has ultimately and ironically been banned.by the Ministry of Culture after a series of legal loopholes the government has found for banning the film. Mehrjui is one of the only directors to have his films banned by both the Shah AND the current theocracy. Mehrjui's films have a breathtakingly lyrical while demonstrating the acute social insight that art mustn't be ignorant of.
The filmmaking in Santoori is masterful and is heavy with flashbacks and symbolic motifs throughout. The direction is well done, the cinematography expressive and very in tune with contemporary Iranian film styles. The acting is superb. Bahram Radan's performance is heartbreaking and a huge part of why this tragedy is successful. Also notable, is Golshifteh Farahani, who is a colossal figure amongst female actresses in Iran and is also in the Ridley Scott film Body of Lies. Farahani's performance creates a dynamic complication to the plot in the relationship between Hanieh and Ali.
The beautiful music is an integral part of the film not just because of the subject matter resting on two main characters being musicians but more importantly because it is effective in carrying the emotions of the film.
The film also carries dominant themes of Love (between Ali and Hanieh and how their relationship plays into Ali's downfall) and Art (questioning what art is and what role it plays in society) which makes the film even more vibrant.
It is films like Santoori that are testimony to the fact that the heavily repressed and censored Iranian cinema is bringing forth, to the international community, a film movement and voice in sync with all the voices silenced and misrepresented.
The kind of film that will stay with you....
Gary S. Reif | Houston, TX USA | 02/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the most vibrant and enriching films I've seen in quite a long time.
Like most Americans, I knew little of Iranian culture prior to seeing this movie. And now that I've had the pleasure of seeing it, I can honestly say I'm starved to learn more.
First off, the acting in the film is comparable to any Oscar worthy performance you might find stateside. As the lead character Ali, Bahram Radan gives an all out performance, offering a compelling portrait of a man capable of the most beautiful music, but who eventually succumbs to the exacting pressures of cultural censorship. His portrayal of addiction and soulful loss transcends the language barrier to the point where only the coldest heart would fail to empathize with his character.
And as for Golshifte Farahani...wow! She is nothing short of stunning as Ali's wife, muse, and sole object of his affection. This is my first introduction to her work and I'm amazed (though not all that surprised)that I've never heard of her till now. It really is a shame how little international film we see distributed hear in the states.
Next, couple amazing performances with some of the most rich and passionate music your starving ears have ever heard. I had no idea Persian music was soooo beautiful. Then add on the silky sound of what I assume is Radan's voice and a doorway to an entirely new world of music opens up to you. If you are a music lover, this film is for you. I bought the soundtrack the next day I loved it so much.
And last, but not least, you have the direction of Dariush Mehrjui weaving together a tragic tale that stayed with me for days after my first viewing. I can't stress enough how much American audiences would benefit from watching Santuri or any of Mehrjui's other films. Western viewers should have no problem relating to themes of repression, creativity, and love found here.
If you are curious about Iranian culture, love music, or just want to enjoy a great movie, give this wonderful film a chance. You won't be disappointed.