Majid Majidi: آواز گنجشک‌ها (The Song of Sparrows) | 2008

In a ‘cinemascape’ of lyricism and allegory, Majid Majidi inhabits a space that is uniquely his own, where, with a flourish of quiet sentimentality and poetic poise, he unfurls for us a spiritual fable of a righteous man placed in the pastoral rural and the materialistic urban. Majidi is a relatively later figure in Iranian cinema, but to my mind, certainly not a lesser figure. In a telling moment in آواز گنجشک‌ها (The Song of Sparrows,) the protagonist Karim (played convincingly by the inimitable Reza Naji) breaks into a nostalgia soaked song that brings smiles to the saddened young boys surrounding him – “Our flowers have withered, our eyes are crying, I remember the good old days….The world is a lie, the world is a dream ….I’ve passed my youth in pain in this world.” The pastoral rural marked by close family ties, community living, and proximity to the ‘living world’ lies in stark contrast to the transactional, corrupting and materialistic core of the urban, and in straddling these seemingly incompatible universes, Karim has to be committed to his essential righteousness, to his faith. Majidi, also masterfully, provides moments of deep insight into interpersonal, familial relationships sobered by economic hardships, while translating the particular to the universal – about eking out an honest living in trying, uncertain times. Watch.

O Canto dos Pardais (The Song of Sparrows) 2008

(Subtitle note: By default the YT ‘CC’ subtitles are in Portuguese. On the YT player here, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Subtitles/CC’ > ‘Auto-translate’ > ‘English.’ Not perfect, but it is a work-around.)


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