Jafar Panahi. Majid Majidi. These are the two most influential, critically acclaimed neorealistic post-revolution film makers to come out of Iran. Watched Majid Majidi’s “The Song of Sparrows (2008)“, “Children of Heaven (1997)” and “The Color of Paradise (1999)” this week.
Absolutely stunning stories. Brilliant camera work. Film making at its finest. Life as it is, the problems oozes out of every movie. Much like Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak style movie making at its best. So many similarities in style; I nearly lost count of time while rewinding and watching some of the scenes of ‘The Song of Sparrows’. Even the great Ray wouldn’t have been able to capture human pain, compassion, happiness and craziness in such fine form. Some of the scenes of ‘The Song of Sparrows’ reminded me of another great Indian (and Bengali) movie, “Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star)” of 1960.
If you haven’t watched any of these movies, do find some time out of your busy work schedule and life and watch these. You wouldn’t be disappointed unless you’re the biggest fan of ‘American Pie‘ or ‘Scary Movie‘ series. 😉
I would also like to take this opportunity for petitioning for Jafar Panahi’s release. Let actors, musicians, film makers be above politics. Free Jafar Panahi! If you haven’t watched his classic “Crimson Gold“, do watch it. Its one of the finest forms of neorealistic moviemaking.
Personally I feel, if you feel proud to be an Asian, you must watch these following movies. These are, my personal ‘5 Greatest Asian Movies of All Time’:
- Pather Panchali, Language: Bengali, Directed by: Satyajit Ray
- Seven Samurai, Language: Japanese, Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
- Sonatine, Language: Japanese, Directed by: Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano (for my Sonatine review, click here)
- Children of Heaven, Language: Persian (Iranian), Directed by: Majid Majidi
- Hana-bi, Language: Japanese, Directed by: Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano
As I write, Jafar Panahi is still serving his 6-year sentence in Iran. We can hope – the ruling despots in Iran come to their senses, and release Panahi. Creativity, Art, Sports ought to be above Politics of all sorts – which unfortunately our Governments do not understand ever. After all, Churchill was completely right when he said – “Politics – It’s after all, the last resort to scoundrels!”