This gentle movie reminded me of a story my yoga instructor told us in class. A group of monkeys were circling several coconut trees. Each of them were gathering fallen coconuts except for one.This particular monkey saw a huge coconut lodged inside the hollow of a tree. Sticking its hand inside, the monkey was able to get a grip on it and tried pulling it out; but the hole was smaller than the coconut. The monkey kept trying, turning the coconut one way then the other; but nothing worked. In the meantime each of the other monkeys was acquiring a small stockpile that would easily last them several days. When all the coconuts were gathered up the one monkey with its hand inside the tree had nothing to show for it. The teacher asked us if we knew the moral of the story; none of us had a reply. He looked at each of us before he said, “Just let go.” All of us sat quietly as we let those words soak in before we attempted our next posture. I am sure each of us in class interpreted the moral differently and I feel the same could be said after viewing this film festival winning movie. Mohammad Amir Naji aka Rela Naji (Children of Heaven, Baran) played Karim, a ranch hand on an ostrich farm. When his oldest daughter Haniyeh’s, played by newcomer Shabnam Aklaghi, hearing aid broke just before an important test in school, Karim had no other option but to make the motorbike trip from his small rural village to Tehran, to get the hearing aid fixed. Upon reaching that bustling metropolis, Karim discovered opportunities that could change his and his family’s way of living; but at what cost? I was fascinated by the simpleness of this film, partly due to the scenes of Karim and his family. There was a charming intimacy created by the story as if I was an undetected observer, seeing a whole different way of life and culture. The pacing was kept slow with minimal dialog, which made the story more real for me. I did not see this so much as a movie but as a fable. For being such a plain and uncomplicated film; it spoke loudly about dreams, fortune and greed. Persian and Azerbaijani with English subtitles.
3 1/4 stars — DVD