Bahman Ghobadi, France-Iraq-Iran, 2006 (8.6*)
A legendary elderly Kurdish musician named Mamo (Ismail Ghaffari), living in Iran, has finally received government permits, after months of trying, to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan for a final reunion concert with his sons.
They set out on the journey in a derelict bus, but Mamo feels he needs a female singer (Golshifteh Farahani), who are banned in Iran, one he remembers who has the 'voice of a siren'. This excursion to a town of exiled female singers leads to one of the most unforgettable scenes in all of film, as hundreds of women line the rooftops of the town and sing in unison. This scene alone makes this film a must-see for all cinephiles, as there is nothing like it in any western film.
Mamo's journey becomes a metaphor for life, with the old bus becoming a symbol for old, failing bodies. Ghobadi's films are eye openers for those of us in the west - his Turtles Can Fly is perhaps the best anti-war film ever made, in which he used real Kurdish war orphans as the cast to tell an unforgettable and poetic tale.
Saturday, October 30, 2010