Haunting and mysterious
Elish | NY | 01/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A haunting and mysterious film that begs to be watched more than once. The movie deals with a childless couple on a pilgrimage to a saint's shrine, who spend some time in a remote village devoid of adult males after their car breaks down. The woman ends up taking over the village's one room school while the teacher ( the only resident adult male in the village )goes off to help her husband repair the car, and the interaction between her and the children is priceless.
The first time I watched this, I would have rated it 3 stars like the other reviewer. But every time I watch it I like it more. ( It has the same subtle power as The Band's Visit). The location is almost otherworldly, and the events hover between the real and the absurd in a way very specific to Iranian cinema (Blackboards, Secret Ballot, Marooned in Iraq, Turtles Can Fly, Iron Island et al.)
In the end, I find the film magical and compelling. I lent it to several friends, all of whom watched it more than once for the same reasons...
"Where Do The Trains Go?" ~ Places Off The Beaten Path For T
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 08/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Note: Farsi with English subtitles.
Synopsis: While on a religious pilgrimage from Tehran to Masad a married couple turn off onto a deserted road to take some photographs. Their car breaks down leaving them stranded until they come across a small village carved into a rocky hillside nearby. While the husband travels into the city with the local mechanic/school teacher to purchase spare parts for the car, his wife (Leila Hatami) stays behind to take care of the local children. As the tale unfolds she discovers that the helpful mechanic and an elderly, senile man are the only adult males in the village. No clear explanation is ever given to account for the absence of men and soon other questions also arise during her stay but they all remain unanswered as well.
Critique: A holy pilgrimage, an unplanned detour, a freak accident and a prophetic utterance, these are the basic elements in an enigmatic plot further complicated by minimal dialogue and explanation. 'Deserted Station' is an odd, surreal '02 Iranian film directed by Alireza Raisian starring the alluring Leila Hatami. It doesn't take long for the viewer to come to the realization that the storyline unfolding on the screen is merely a vehicle devised to point to something deeper and more intangible go on. The real tale is taking place within the mind and soul of the beautiful female pilgrim. We are told early in the film that she was at one time a school teacher and that she is unable to conceive. Quite possibly this journey off the main highway symbolizes her personal inner struggle to come to grips with her lost opportunity for motherhood and family? Maybe the reason for this spiritual trek is to gain God's favor and have her wishes granted, or maybe it is to learn to accept and appreciate what God has given?
The illusory nature of this obscure habitation in the desert is initially revealed to the viewer when the enchanting Leila passes through a stone archway leading into the village main square, the heart of the community. Like some ritualistic "rite of passage" her entrance is slow, hypnotic and subtle, creating an atomosphere of revential timelessness. As she crosses through moving from profane to sacred space one becomes aware that the events now about to unfold will have a sense of ambiquity and mystery about them. Ultimately your enjoyment of this film, or lack there of, will be determined not by what is seen but by what is implied. As for me, I'm still trying to figure it out.
My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars."
Habib | California, USA | 05/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While it is true that the average [American] viewer will not appreciate this film, the reason is not because there isn't much to think about (as one reviewer complains). On the contrary, this film doesn't provide cheap entertainment but rather tasks the viewer with having to think more than the usual mindless cinema that Westerners are accustomed to; the real problem is that this film doesn't entertain Americans in the way that they expect to be entertained by films: by easy, mindless, and gratuitous themes such as sex, violence, melodrama, comedy, etc.
Contrary to what one reviewer has said about the film having no emotional scenes, this film has some of the most emotionally intense and poignant scenes I've ever witnessed in a film, and like a majestic lake whose surface is placid, there exists beneath the surface of this film depths far greater than what the senses can penetrate. There is more to this story than what the film depicts, and that helplessness that you feel as a viewer also helps you to relate to the emotions of the main character, which are the highlight of this film.
Anyone who can't appreciate this film needs to come to terms with their own humanity. Humanity is the only thing that makes this film worth watching, and if this film doesn't show anything that you can relate to, turn off the computer, turn off your cell phone, step outside, and go for a walk. Get lost somewhere and find yourself."