Winner for Best Film at the Montreal Film Festival, this wonderfully romantic and uplifting story is from the acclaimed director of the Academy Award(R) nominee CHILDREN OF HEAVEN (Best Foreign Language Film, 1999). In a T... more »ehran building site, a 17-year-old Iranian named Lateef is known more for his playful antics than his hard work. Then things take an unexpected turn when an Afghan coworker falls from the building and the worker's son, Rahmat, enters the scene to become the new provider for his family. But even as Lateef finds himself irresistibly drawn to Rahmat, it's not until the revelation of Rahmat's secret (that he is actually a young woman, posing as a man) that both of their lives are forever changed! A humorous and moving love story of the most romantic kind -- critics everywhere have declared this delightfully entertaining motion picture as one not to be missed!« less
"Filmed before the tragic events of September 11, and yet as timely as today's headlines, this Iranian film captures the plight of Afghan refuges in Teheran. There are more than 1.4 million of them who fled the Russian invasion in 1979. Many have grown up never seeing their homeland and, like illegal aliens everywhere, work the hardest for the lowest pay. And yet, this is a love story.The scene is a skeletal construction site where workers are putting bricks in the frame of a large building. Shot from a distance, the people look like worker bees. But they soon become individuals as the director moves the camera towards them. Work is hard, dusty, backbreaking and dangerous. And there are both Iranians and illegal Afghans working there. The owner, played by Mohammad Amir Naji, is always screaming "get back to work" but we soon find out that his bark is worse than his bite. He's under pressure to get the job done right or he won't be paid, and he also has a warm place in his heart for the hard-working Afghans who must run and hide whenever the inspectors come around.Lateef, played by Hossein Abedini, is a 17-year old Turkish Iranian and so therefore has a precious identity card. His job is the cook and "tea boy" on the site. He's full of ego and loves to joke around, often getting into arguments and scuffles. One day, one of the Iranian workers gets injured and, in order to feed his family, sends Rahmat, in his place. Rahmat is small and delicate and cannot carry the heavy bags of cement and so therefore is assigned Lateef's job. Lateef is at first furious and is especially angry when Rahmat's cooking is praised by all the workers. Later events make him change his attitude though.It is interesting that throughout the entire film, Rahmat doesn't speak one single word. However, the audience doesn't miss anything as every possible emotion comes through with just expressions and gestures. The story is a rich emotional experience against a background of harsh reality. The cinematography and direction are excellent. I could feel the strain of muscles doing heavy work. I saw the beauty of the natural countryside, and felt the horror of never having an identity card. I shuddered at the image of a cold stream, which would be beautiful except that women laborers, cold and overworked, were eking out a living by moving boulders. This is the story of extreme struggle. And yet, it is the love story that shines through."
"Baran" Means "Rain"; Story of Tender Feeling Deftly Told
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 08/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Majid Majidi, director of "The Children of Heaven" (first Oscar-nominated film from Iran), gives us another heart-warming (and slightly poignant) film about "Baran" (meaning "Rain"). The film has a romantic taste in a subdued narrative, and perhaps a very immediate and political message. But like a lovable brother and sister in "Heaven," "Baran" is about the two people in Iran tenderly depicted by Majidi.The story starts with a young man Lateef working at a construction site somewhere in Iran. The work is hard, and many workers are actually not Iranian, but illegal immigirants from Afghanistan. The boss Memar (excellent Mohammad Amir Naji, father of the children in "Heaven") is in fact a good fellow, but doesn't (or cannot) give much wage to them. There, Lateef has been assigned a rather easy job, serving tea and bread because of his father.But one day Lateef must start to work, this time a real one. For one of the workers of the place broke his leg, and a son of the injured, very small boy named Rahmat, replaces this guy who could be lazy until then. Sulky, discontent, Rahmat acts very nastily before this small boy ... until he finds a surprising secret about "Rahmat" who in fact is named "Baran."The rest of the story should remain untold. The man begins to change his attitudes to this newcomer, silently protecting Baran and keeping the secret from the people around them. But what can he do? And how far can he go when he knows someday Baran and the family must go back to the country where the society is still very unstable? All those emotional changes happening in this man's heart are tactly dealt with Majidi's lyrical narrative, without being too sugary and sentimental.I understand some people's complaint that this film (and Iranian films in general) is too slow-moving. And I think the latter half, which should have shown more of Baran, seems a bit overlong. The 90 minutes surely feel long even for me (though I have watched many films from that country). Still, the charms of the simple tale with rich details of the everyday life in Iran which the Western media rarely cover are irresitible.Certainly it moves slow, but "Baran" presents us what a good cinema can do with its good visuals and sincere attitudes towards filmmaking and the people it pictures.Those who are interested in Iran-Afghanistan relations should see "Kandahar" and "The Cyclist." The former in a sense follows the possible life of Baran, and the latter is a big hit in Iran about a most desperate bet done by an aged illegal immigrant from Afghanistan, who has to ride a bicycle through one whole week."
Majidi Does it Again!
mobby_uk | London United Kingdom | 02/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After two masterpieces, Children of Heaven and Children of Paradise, Majidi does it again, and creates yet another masterpiece with Baran. He is one of the most talented directors in any language or era, as he uses a cinematic language that on one hand reminds me a lot of the european greats like Bergman, Truffaut and DeSica.., yet on the other is a reflection of his culture and environment.
The love and infatuation that the teenager Hossein feels for Baran is simple, innocent, and well..doomed. It had to be from the start..An Afghan refugee working on a building site to support her family after her father has an accident,concealing her identity as a result, and a working class and poor Iranian boy, who at the beginning of the film was the irresponsible joker, and whose life is totally transformed by his 'discovery' and love.
The genuis of Majidi, is that he films this story without sentimentality yet with great compassion and love for his characters,and with a camera work that is pure poetry.
There are many unforgettable scenes in Baran, but the one that haunted me the most was when Baran's secret is discovered by Hossein. The acting is great from the amateur leads, especially Baran who doesn't say a word in the whole film, but whose face speaks volume, acting worthy of top rewards!!
Iranian cinema in general and Majidi in particular have proven that cinema is a truly universal art, like music, it brings people together regardless of their cultures or faiths, like no other art form can.
Baran is a must buy for any cinema lover, a film full of colour, soul and dignity."
There are few "must see's"....this is one
Brian Kerecz | PA, USA | 11/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was not really aware of Majid Majidi until I took a chance on this movie the first time. It is a strikingly beautiful movie, a simple story deftly told. Not much happens in it......not much has to.
Baran is the story of hard-nosed, selfish kid named Lateef whose cynical view of the world is changed once he makes a discovery about the "son" of one of the worker's who is out injured. He is tough on the son at first until he makes the discovery that the "he" is actually a she, trying to provide for the family now that the father is hurt. It is a love affair without very many words being uttered between the two. I won't say too much more so I don't spoil the entire story but this movie trancends language. You forget you are reading subtitles. It is a beautiful work, both in the story told within and the stunning cinematography.
Hollywood could learn something from watching this movie. Buy it.....cinema is alive and well!"
Eros and Agape
Paul Waters | Montreal, Canada | 10/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not really a story about the plight of Afghan refugees in Iran. That makes it sound as earnest and boring as a report from a parliamentary committee or a term paper from a sociology student. This is a love story, and one of extraordinary power and depth. It examines the lives of a man and a woman, both living on the margins of their society. They never exchange so much as a word or a touch, let alone body fluids, but love transforms them both. Eros and Agape both triumph in this marvellously shot and understated film."