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The White Meadows (Keshtzarhaye sepid)


IR AN Director: Mohammad Rasoulof Producer: Mohammad Rasoulof Screenwriter: Mohammad Rasoulof Cinematographer: Ebrahim Ghafori Editor: Jafar Panahi


Cast: Hassan Pourshirazi, Younes Ghazali, Mohammad Rabbani, Mohammad Shirvani, Omid Zare


2009/color/92 min.


MOHAMMAD RASOULOF Born in Shiraz, Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof studied sociology and made a number of shorts before turning to directing feature-length works. His politically charged films have earned him international acclaim—and govenmental censure; Rasoulof was arrested in the spring of 2010 and detained in prison for 16 days.


Filmography Head Wind (2008) Iron Island (2005) The Twilight (2002)


Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s The White Meadows is a thinly veiled magical-realist allegory of sociopolitical oppression and the misery it causes. Middle-aged Rahmat sails the pearly saltwaters of Lake Urmia on a mission to collect the tears of heartbroken inhabitants of the surrounding islands into a tiny pitcher—remaining all the while a silent, nonjudgmental witness to the absurd havoc wreaked by the powers that be.


Like the waters he sails, the tears of the grief-stricken—stemming from the repression they experience daily—are expansive. At each inhospitable destina- tion, a new tragedy awaits. At one stop, he buries a beautiful young woman whose death the community asserts is for the best, since the way her body moved beneath her burka was too tempting for its menfolk. At another, the sorrows of the locals are spoken into jars and strung to a shaven, six-fingered dwarf, who is lowered down a well to appease the fairy living there. At still another, a young virgin is drowned as a sacrifice to the gods in hopes of rain; even as the girl drifts away screaming desperately, her death is considered noble. And then there’s the island where an artist who dared to paint the sky red instead of blue is buried in sand and blinded with monkey urine to “correct” his vision. With this metaphor for the Iranian government’s crackdown on dissident artistic expression, Rasoulof knows whereof he speaks: he has himself been imprisoned, to international outcry.


Yet Rasoulof manages to explore the theme of grave injustice without being didactic; in Rahmat, whose soulful eyes show that he shares the burden of the islanders, we have a model of dignity and compassion—a vessel for the complexity of our own strengths and fallibilities.


—REBECCA CARO FOCUS ON IRANIAN CINEMA


Co-presented by the Global Film Initiative. For more information, please visit www.globalfilm.org


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CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


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