Ehsan Khoshbakht is an Iranian author, film critic and architect

By Ehsan Khoshbakht

 

Willow trees bend easily in the slightest breeze, but even the wildest wind cannot uproot them. That is, more or less, the story of children in Mohammad Ali Talebi’s cinema; they are affected by every turn, every event, each nuance of the adult world, but they never fall down or stop fighting.

Willow and Wind is Talebi’s greatest cinematic achievement, both in terms of narrative and visual style. It tells an amazingly simple, sometimes absurd story. Like a Persian miniature, it is expressed through fine details. It depicts the efforts of a young boy to carry a large piece of glass some distance across country, to reach the school where he has broken a window during a [...]

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Ehsan Khoshbakht is an Iranian author, film critic and architect

By Ehsan Khoshbakht

 

Seven years before the release of Mohammad Ali Talebi’s The Boot, the film which first brought him to international attention, he directed a puppet road movie, in which a gang of young mice unite against a vicious cat, whom their parents have given up hope of defeating. In The Boot it is real children who are fighting against the odds – and rather than a vicious cat, it is the crowded capital of Iran, Tehran, which threatens to overwhelm them.

Most of Talebi’s films about children feature an absent parent or two. In this case, young Samaneh’s father has died. In a shoe store, where the girl’s mother stares longingly at a happy couple shopping together, the gaze not [...]

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Ehsan Khoshbakht is an Iranian author, film critic and architect

By Ehsan Khoshbakht

 

The moment that Jeyran, the unflagging young protagonist of Bag of Rice, sets out on her urban odyssey across south Tehran with her partially-sighted neighbour Masoumeh Khanoom, two children – one of whom is lugging a gas cylinder with difficulty– are seen walking towards the camera. The scene takes place in a narrow, brick-walled alley; it is representative of director Mohammad Ali Talebi’s film style and contains the essence of his view of the lives of children in his home city. It expresses the responsibilities, or rather the burdens, that their circumstances demand they bear, and which force them to mature early in their lives. Children in Talebi’s films, especially in Bag of Rice, are not guided by [...]

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