Film review: The Song of Sparrows

Official selection presented by Iran to 2009 Oscars

Karim works on an ostrich farm (ostriches are really very cool looking – watching them, in fact, was my favorite part of the film) until an escape results in his termination. When his daughter’s hearing aid falls into the waterhole out back, reduced to disgusting trash-laden sludge, Karim sets off to fix things. His invaluable little motorbike zips from his simple rural existence into Tehran, which contains about 13 million more people than Karim is used to dealing with. He returns to the big, big, big, big city to ferry people around with his motorbike and turn a meager profit, and each day returns to the farm with a new piece of junk from the Big Place. At one point he gets a wee bit greedy and considers stealing a refrigerator he was ferrying… but thinks better of it. After an incapacitating accident involving Karim’s pile of junk, his big-city dreams are put on indefinite hold and he adjusts his pace back to the simple rural life he had known. The end. Oh yes, and the neighborhood kids have their own dream of breeding and selling goldfish and making a million dollars – that doesn’t quite work out either (see film’s cover poster for further details). It’s an ineffectual film. The filmmaking is thoughtful and caring but the story is only dramatic, and then conventionally so, insofar as it backs up the ‘essay’ behind the film – modern living bad, natural living good. In other words: Film School Success, I Can Do It 101, nice little film for those involved but is very little more than an exercise, yada yada yada. Thanks, Iran [for the ostriches].

written by David Ashley

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