2001 | Drama | 94 minutes | Farsi and Azeri with English subtitles
A construction site in Teheran managed by Memar employs many Afghan refugees. They have no identity cards, are illegal, and work cheaply. Lateef, a 17-year-old young man, has the job of serving the workers tea and preparing the food. One day, an Afghan worker, Najaf, falls and breaks his leg. Another Afghan worker brings in Rahmat, Najaf’s 14-year-old son, and begs Memar to hire him. Without Najaf’s income, the family needs someone to support them. But Rahmat is small, weak, and obviously not fit for hard work. After some deliberation, Memar decides to hire Rahmat on a trial basis. Rahmat is given the easier job, which is to replace Lateef. Lateef is furious and tries to sabotage Rahmat. But while spying on Rahmat, Lateef discovers that Rahmat is a girl. Lateef now becomes protective and helpful. Gradually he falls in love with Rahmat. Although silent throughout her work, Rahmat responds to Lateef’s love. A crisis develops when labor inspectors come to the construction looking for illegals. Rahmat, whose real name is Baran, panics and runs away. Lateef figures that Baran and her family will probably return to Afghanistan. He’s bereft. He now knows he may never see her again.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 89%
- Metacritic Score: 79
National Board of Review: Winner, Freedom of Expression Award
Montreal World Film Festival: Winner, Grand Prix
Chicago International Film Festival: Nominated, Best Feature
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The intriguing thing about an Iranian film like BARAN is that it gives human faces to these strangers. It could be a useful learning tool for those who have not traveled widely, who never see foreign films, who reduce whole nations to labels.
Simple but loaded it celebrates the humanity and humanism at the heart of Iran’s remarkable flow of films, but it’s also more of a rebuke to materialistic values than any ideologue could ever hope to be.
BARAN is necessary viewing. Not only does it bring news of a faraway place, but it also exemplifies the power of cinema when it focuses on the particulars of daily life to achieve a paradoxical universality.The film plunges you into a reality that is, more often than not, difficult and sad, and then, without sentimentalizing it or denying its brutality, transforms that reality into a lyrical and celebratory vision.
A mix of gritty realism, crisp storytelling and radiant compassion that effortlessly draws you in.
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