Jafar Panahi: Badkonake Sefid (The White Balloon). 1995

Emerging out of the shadows of the much venerated Abbas Kiarostami, Iranian director Jafar Panahi‘s emphatic debut feature won him many accolades over the years, and deservedly so. A collaboration of scriptwriter Kiarostami and writer-director Panahi, ‘Badkonake Sefid‘ (The White Balloon, 1995) holds on dearly to the cinematic realism of Panahi’s larger oeuvre, along with the mise-en-scene sensibilities central to a certain tendency in the Iranian ‘new wave’ cinema. In telling the story of a 7 year old girl’s (Razieh) longing for ownership of a chubby gold fish around the Iranian New Year, Panahi masterfully controls his material, absorbing the audience entirely into his heroine’s delicate, innocent, enquiring world, playing it out on the often unkind streets of Tehran. With the narrative hinged around the loss (and subsequent regaining) of the means of purchase of an object of desire, Panahi chooses to bring a cinematic style of subtlety and remarkable human detail. Watch. 

Jafar Panahi -- The White Balloon 1995

 

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