Mohammad (Ramezani) is an 8-year-old in a school for the blind in Teheran on the last day before summer holidays. From the very beginning we see that this is a boy who's grabbing everything he can out of life, soaking up experiences, thoroughly engaged in his surroundings and not even remotely inhibited by his blindness. Then we meet his widowed father Hashem (Mahjoob), reluctantly arriving to collect him, ashamed and afraid of his son. They travel by bus and horse to their remote mountain home, where Mohammad greets his grandmother (Feyzi) and sisters (Sharifi and Safari) exhuberantly, diving back into rural life with gusto. He "reads" the flowers, creekbeds and woodpecker songs by Braille to better understand the world--and the God who made him this way. But Hashem is worried that Mohammad will jinx his chances to remarry, and plots--against Granny's will--to send him away.
Majidi directs the film with a gripping sense of place and a deeply personal touch. From the very beginning we feel everything Mohammad feels, hearing the sounds and seeing the lush, dense colours. The film is jammed to the brim with near-perfect touches that grab us with wonder, earthy humour, emotion, frustration, fear and anger. And as the story begins to focus on Hashem's inability to see how remarkable Mohammad is, the film develops an even more profound resonance. Don't miss it.
UK release 4.Aug.00
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