Baran - the Rain
Iranian cinema is one of the most vibrant in today's world. I havn't seen many of those famous movies of heavyweights like Abbas Kiarostami or Mohsen Makhmalbalf. Nevertheless, none of the Iranian movies that I have watched failed to captivate me. Indeed, there is a certain lyricism to movies made in Iran. My most favourite Iranian movie is Kiarostami's "Where is My Friend's House?". In fact that's one of the best movies that I have seen in any language. Some of the other Iranian movies that I really liked include Dariush Mehrjui's "Sara", Bahman Ghobadi's "A Time for Drunken Horses", and Marzieh Meshkini's "The Day I Became a Woman".
Now I can add one more movie to my list. Today I watched Majid Majidi's "Baran". The movie portrays a love affair -- sort of a platonic one -- between the main characters, Latif and Baran. Baran is an illegal immigrant from Afghanistan, and the plight of Afghan immigrants in Iran is always there in the background -- fake ID's, extra work, and lower wages. Latif is a Kurdish Iranian who works for a construction company for which Baran's father used to work till he met with an accident. Following her father's accident, Baran has to earn a living on her own, and she works for the same company disguised as a boy -- Rahmat. Rahmat is too weak to do the more strenuous jobs, and soon replaces Latif as the cook. Latif resents Rahmat, till the day he accidentally discovers that Rahmat is a girl. From that point Latif is visibly affectionate to Baran, and we can see this affection being reciprocated, though in a subdued, subtle way. Later the company is forced to bar the Afghans from working. Latif starts searching for Baran and finds her doing all kind of heavy work at different places. Most of these scenes are very beautifully shot. Latif donates all his hard earned money to Baran's father and a friend of his. In the end, Baran and her family returns to Afghanistan. Latif is there to see her off. Baran gets into the truck, truck starts moving, what remains is just Baran's shoeprints, and then it starts raining heavily, and the shoeprints also slowly fade away.
In a beginning sequence of the movie, Latif spots a coin on the ground and tactfully grabs it. Towards the end, Latif gives away his money to people who may need it more urgently. An agressive Latif gradually changes to a calm and confident Latif at the end. Baran has come and gone, but the association with her has left an indelible mark -- a "positive" change -- in Latif's life.