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Iran, 1992 (MIFF 1995)

Director: Ebrahim Foruzesh

Gently humorous, with the pleasing simplicity of a fable, The Jar seems an unlikely candidate for the harsh censorship that saw it banned in its own country for three years. Yet director Ebrahim Forouzesh's hallmark style-where every detail is emotionally resonant and from the smallest things come great stories-is ripe for metaphor and a multitude of meanings

Dedicated "To all the children of the desert", the tale pivots on a village teacher's attempts to motivate an impoverished community to replace the schools precious water jar (It has cracked, and to drink, his young students must make a long trip to a dangerous stream). Forouzesh's veiled realism unravels the escalating events via comic observation of individual foibles, failings, happenstance, village gossip, tradition and bureaucracy, quietly revealing a world dominat­ed by ignorance and deprivation.

The chiefly non-professiional cast of children exert a powerful charm whilst the adult players delight as symbolic incarnations of egotism, stubbornness and determination.

Emblazoned with simple humanism and a visual poetry drawn in the rich desert textures of sand and stone, The Jar is a vital addition to one of the truly exciting arenas of contemporary cin­ema, Iranian filmmaking.

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