Award-winning filmmaker Jafar Panahi's (The White Balloon, The Circle) latest triumph is an intimate and absorbing drama about the ways in which the hypocrisies and slights of daily life can push otherwise reasonable peopl... more »e over the edge. Based on true events and written by acclaimed director Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry), CRIMSON GOLD is the story of Hussein, a humble pizza deliveryman who feels continually humiliated by the injustices he sees all around him. When his friend Ali finds a receipt for a stranger's necklace purchase, Hussein is stunned by its exceptionally high cost. He knows that his pitiful salary will never be enough to afford such a luxury. Soon after, he and Ali are refused entry to an uptown jewelry store because of their scruffy appearances; his rage over this slight sets off a series of events. But Hussein will taste the luxurious life for one night before his deep feelings of humiliation push him over the edge. DVD extras include: 5.1, trailer, subtitle control, weblinks, Interview with director Jafar Panahi« less
Iran through through the eyes of a pizza deliveryman
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2003 Iranian film has a lot of depth. The main character is a man named Hussein. Bloated with extra weight because of a medical condition he developed while fighting in the Iraq war, he now works as a pizza deliveryman.
Through his eyes, we get a view of Iranian society. For example, we see him delivering pizzas to a place that is having a party where young people are dancing. However, he's detained by the police who are arresting the partygoers as they emerge from the party because such behavior is forbidden in Iran. He's just a bystander with pizzas which will not be eaten and so he offers pizza to police and arrestees alike. It's a very moving scene and we even get a glimpse of a 15-year old soldier who is trying to follow the rules and not eat on duty but really does want a piece of pizza.
Then there is a scene where he meets his former army commander who's embarrassed by the fact that Hussein, a war hero, is now delivering pizza and so he gives him a large tip.
Our hearts go out to this oversized man who is constantly reminded of the vast differences in Iranian society. In another scene a rich man invites him in to his very expensive apartment just because he needs to talk to someone. Hussein wanders around here with a sense of wonder at all the riches and it soon becomes clear that Hussein's desperation is growing.
Soon, we understand the act of violence with which the film opens and which confused me at first. But the rest of the film answers those questions.
This is a fine film although a bit confusing and somehow sad. But it's well done and meaningful. Not for everyone but film buffs will love it. Recommended."
Taste of cherry will carry us
Nassim Sabba | Brookline, MA USA | 09/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When truth reveals itself and the final act has to be carried out based on it, the final judgment automatically follows.
Was Cambodia an aberration? Or are all societies racked by war so sick of themselves that they are ready to obliterate themselves when righteous attempts of redemption fail?
Hossein is a hard working man who has served his society in war and now runs around feeding it, if not literally, at least figuratively. The well do can now order him into the night because they now have the new weapon needed to push the rest around, wealth.
The simplicity of this film belies its powerful commentary on the universal human condition. It could be Cambodia, Iran, Germany, Poland, or Algeria. Like the bureaucrats of Kurosawa's Ikiru, society forgets its pleasures and purpose when there is no tension, there of death by stomach cancer, and here by the suggested comraderrie of soldiers at the front. When the war is over, soldiers are separated by many flights of steps, and miles of uphill roads between a pizza oven and the mouth and stomach of a now well to do comrade. When the cancer ravaged patient is dead, the camaraderie stops too.
Hossein and his close friend and delivery colleague weave on his motorcycle through the thick field of "citizens" in Tehran swaying in the wild wind of traffic. This is a far cry from the serene motorcycle ride of the country doctor and the reporter in The Wind Will Carry Us. But the shots are the same. So is the background noise that covers conversation and turn it into a staccato of human emotions expressed in dissolving sounds.
Similarly, the answer to the anguished question of the main character of Taste of Cherry is given in an instant in the beginning scene. When you can't but make those around you suffer, then freedom to choose an exist is the most human of all decisions. By suicide in Taste of Cherry, motorcycle in the Wind Will Carry Us, and a clever combination of the two here, where just one person leaves on the motorcycle, and one commits the final act.
While his screen plays which Mr. Kiarostami chooses to also directs are generally set in natural and rural environments, Mr. Panahi's inherits the messy urban ones. He is a master for it. He knows of its light, motion, and sound. Or should I call it noise. The noise of unseen teeming urban life, even on the 32nd floor of a modern residential tower. The gurgling water stream of a mountain village is substituted by tight and long vistas of noisy streets and alleys. The thin, soft see-through curtain at the entry to the basement of a rural house where a young girl, who in her first love opens up to the meaning of a modern poem is substituted by an automatically locking woven metal security grille of a jewelry store where love is abstracted in rings and bracelets, not poetry, not poverty. The girl lives on, we assume to see her lover, but Hossein never makes back out from behind the curtain.
Are these deliberate parallels Mr. Kiarostami and Mr. Panahi are putting in front of us from movie to movie to movie, or simply the subconscious mastery of profoundly connected artists? Perhaps we can never know. But we thank them for letting us get a new view through the many curtains of human making.
Thus, you will enjoy this movie in an extended context if you also watch, at least, The Circle, The Wind Will Carry Us and Taste of Cherry. The universal theme is hard to miss, in each one like in a single poems, or all of them as a 24 FPS "divan" or oeuvre of two masters.
Captivating glimpse into class warfare of Iranian society.
S. Calhoun | Chicago, IL United States | 08/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hussein Emadeddin works as a pizza deliveryman in the bustling metropolis of Tehran, Iran. He is a large somber guy that refuses to crack a smile, let alone laugh, throughout his performance in this film. It is apparent that Hussein has a matter preoccupying his mind, and as the narrative unfolds it is revealed that he is greatly disturbed by the gap between the rich and poor in Tehran. Occupying the lower rungs of the economic class ladder Hussein can't help but look up into the panorama of the wealthy. His attention is particularly focused on an affluent jewelry shop and its snobby owner in order to better understand this previously mysterious social stratum.
There are several noteworthy scenes such as when Hussein unknowingly interrupted the government surveillance of a party that violates the fundamental religious laws of Iran (i.e., dancing). I have read about the moral police, but have never before seen a depiction of them on film before. There was also a quick reference to what I believe was Hussein's participation in the Iraq-Iran War. I wished that more were revealed about these two aspects.
Directed by Jafar Panahi, an acknowledged socialist, it is obvious that this film highlights anti-capitalist sentiments as he aims to expose a corrupt dictatorship and the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. To me it's remarkable that the focal point is Iran, a non-Westernized nation that is seldom the focus of such attention before.
Give it time; CRIMSON GOLD is a film that builds upon itself slowly. It is solemn and bleak at times, but nevertheless held my attention throughout. Recommended."
The betrayeds of the Revolution
Guilherme Morgado | Lisbon, Portugal | 12/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I never receive your film, despite to have seen it in Lisbon. For any reasons that neither you can explain, the goods have desapear. Some one, who has the some interests than me got my stuff, which mean I payed for the plesure of a german guy or a service man from the Portuguese douane. Anyway the film is super!"
filmz | Golden, CO | 09/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really loved this film. I thought it was intense, sad, and humbling. Hussein is a large, quiet man who always appears preoccupied, and is unable to discuss his feelings to those close to him. He wants to make his fiance happy, but feels he needs to be able to provide for her nice things. When they were in the jewelry shop he kept looking over at the rich couple, and how easy it was for her husband to purchase such a nice piece of jewelry. The real turning point in the film was when Hussein and his fiance entered the high-end jewelry store, & you could see how much more miserable he became afterward. This film is good for men to watch because it really explores some of the feelings of inadequacy that men experience-and the pressure to be providers. I think it is even more intense for men in Iran-because of the strict gender roles between men and women. As a whole, this film really is about class differences in a very oppressed country."