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Iran, 1995 (MIFF 1996, Contemporary World Cinema )

Director: Jafar Panahi

Much to everyone's surprise, fundamentalist hard-line Iran has been pioving that humanist cinema is alive and thriving for at least a decade now To established names like Kiarostami, Makmalbaf, Bani' etemad and Foruzesh we can now add Jafar Panahi. winner of last year's Best First Film Award at Cannes lor this masterpiece of simple yet enthralling cinematic story-telling Magical, charming but never cutesy. The White Balloon is destined to delight audiences everywhere. The plot is slight seven-year-old Razieh wants to buy a goldfish in the bazaar. but when she gets to the shop she discovers she has lost her money However, the results are deftly suspenseful. Will Razieh escape the wiles of the snake-charmer? Will she find her money again? How will she rescue the banknote once she has discovers it beyond her reach? Is the soldier who oilers to help trustworthy or dangerous? And will we ever discover The White Balloon of the title and its significance? We sit on the edges of our sears as it watching a Hitchcock masterpiece.

Panahi is aided by a magnificent script from one of the world's undisputed great film makers Abbas Kiarostami. The master director of such film as Where Is the Friends Home? and Through The Olive Trees (MIFF 1995) Kiarostami's reputation is for attention to the telling details and moral dilemmas of everyday life, and for coaxing outstanding performances from non-professional actors. The While Balloon extends his minimalist achievement and little Aida Mohammadkhani has won one award after another for her remarkable realisation of Razieh. (CB)

See also...


Winner of the Camera D'or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jafar Panahi's The White Balloon is the story of a young Iranian girl's trip to the market - a simple undertaking that becomes unexpectedly ... More »


Jafar Panahi has once again utilised the services of youthful Mina Mohammed Khani, the utterly charming young thesp whose talents made The White Balloon the most popular feature of MIFF 1996. His ... More »


In this shocking, politically courageous look at the other' Iran, the plight of women is wilfully, sometimes furiously forced into plain sight. Director Jafar Panahi's narrative delicately drifts ... More »


Winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Award at Cannes this year, Jafar Panahi's (The Circle, MIFF 2001) new film is a intimate and absorbing drama. Based on true events, told to Panahi by Abbas ... More »


The Circle was a multiple award-winner at the Venice Film Festival in 2000. ... A tour de force, The Circle depicts the plight of several Iranian women oppressed solely for being born female in a ... More »


“One of the most powerful films to have emerged from Iran this decade.” - Toronto International Film Festival A little girl's journey through the streets of Tehran turns into a dazzling ... More »

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