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COMING OF AGE

Germany, 1976 (MIFF 1977)

Director: Sohrab Shahid Saless

Iranian director, Sohrab Shahid Saless, whose memorable Still Life was shown at the 1975 Melbourne Film Festival, and who is now working in Germany, traces the painful maturing of a ten year old boy living in Berlin The film concentrates on detailed observation of the small routines and rituals of everyday life The boy lives with his mother, and only slowly comes to understand that she supports them both by working as a prostitute He exists with her in a relationship in which there is little apparent communication, little dialogue He goes to school, does some shopping for a blind neighbour, looks after himself while his mother works at nights in a bar His 'coming of age' occurs when he discovers the truth about his mother.

David Wilson, writing in Sight and Sound, states 'As in his previous film, Saless simply fixes his camera in very long takes on his settings and characters, never interposing himself between what happens and why It is a style so refined that it runs the risk of seeming pointless, but its uncompromising simplicity finally achieves an almost hypnotic effect, and in the process speaks volumes about the way people actually live.'

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