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The Song of Sparrows
Genre Drama
Year: 2008
The Song of Sparrows is yet another strikingly beautiful film from Iranian director, Majid Majidi. His fellow film-makers tend to portray the darker spectrum of Iran, while Majidi’s sweet, sentimental and deeply humanistic films find their way to international audiences. Majidi’s films are lyrical, poetic and convey simple realities with an unfettered sense of truth. Children of Heaven, The Colour of Paradise and The Willow Tree all echo the same sentiment of The Song of Sparrows, which was Iran’s official submission to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film. Majidi’s themes often involve disability, enlightenment, opportunity, hope, optimism and creatures. The Song of Sparrows opens on an ostrich farm, where a humble farm labourer named Karim is working. Karim’s journey takes him into the city, where he becomes preoccupied with the rat race and immersed in the trade of money. The unselfish quest slowly corrupts into a hard-headed obsession with material wealth.

Majidi’s films include symbolism and spirituality, which create a transcendent feel to the simple story. Karim’s story has parallels with the prodigal son, although the main metaphoric concept is drawn between him and an escaped ostrich. His family try to help the situation with entrepreneurial enterprise, but Karim’s too stubborn to accept the help and possibly too proud to delegate the responsibility. His heart hardens and he only comes full circle, when he realises the error of his ways. Majidi composes The Song of Sparrows like a fable. The story has an innocence and equal balance of reality/fantasy that creates a beautiful waking dream environment. The performances are honest, weathered and warm with Mohammed Amir Naji filling Karim’s character with tremendous range and untapped strength. On first impressions, one is aware of a resemblance with Gerard Depardieu, and Naji carries a similar kindness behind his eyes.

Majidi’s The Song of Sparrows is a beautiful film that immerses you in Karim’s situation. The story’s strengths lie in the likable Karim, the strong contrasts and the lyrical fable quality. Karim is a simple man, who has his flaws… but maintains a healthy sense of optimism. The rural farm setting conflicts sharply with the city’s urban hive of activity, while the age-old contrasts between the rich and the poor stay the course. The Song of Sparrows is a wonderful escape to another culture and one is immediately drawn to this humanistic story, which could happen almost anywhere. While The Song of Sparrows holds one’s attention, its sweet, gentle and poetic nature is overly sentimental and it lingers at times.

The bottom line: Intimate.

Splingometer 7 - Song of Sparrows
8.50/10 ( 2 Votes )
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