Movie Details

The Song Of Sparrows

It tells the story of Karim, a man who works at an ostrich farm outside of Tehran, Iran. He leads a simple and contented life with his family in his small house, until one day when one of the ostriches runs away. Karim is blamed for the loss and is fired from the farm. Soon after, he travels to the city in order to repair his elder daughter's hearing aid but finds himself mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver. Thus begins his new profession: ferrying people and goods through heavy traffic. But the people and material goods that he deals with daily start to transform Karim's generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and daughters. It is up to those closest to him to restore the values that he had once cherished.

Language: Persian
Subtitle: Na
Classification: PG13
General Release Date: 06 Jan 2011
Genre: Drama / Foreign
Running Time: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
Cast: Reza Naji
Director: Majid Majidi
Format: NA

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Writer: Lorraine DCosta

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 3.5 Out of 5
Plot: 3.0 Out of 5
Effects: 3.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.5 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: “The Color of Paradise”, “Children of Heaven”, “The Willow Tree”

Iranian director Majid Majidi is a magician when it comes to spinning magical tales out of mundane subjects and transforming it into something luminous and lovely. "The Song of The Sparrows" astonishes with its simplicity and uncomplicated wisdom.

The key element of this movie is the fact that the problems and issues faced by the protagonist Karim (Reza Naji) and his family are not at all different from those faced by many of us. They may not be well off but they are not the poorest of the poor. They do not own a basic electrical appliance like a refrigerator and Karim's wife, Narges (Maryam Akbari) insists they do not have a need for one. They are comfortable and pretty content with each other as life in the countryside within Tehran's outskirts goes.

The story starts when Karim's teenage daughter, Haniyeh (Shabnam Akhlagi) loses her hearing aid and when it is found, it is damaged beyond repair. Karim is desperate to buy one as her exams are coming up. However the cost of a new one is more than he can afford. His job at an ostrich farm does not provide insurance or a proper salary for that sake. But after a minor incident involving a wayward ostrich, Karim loses his job and things get really bad since he is the sole breadwinner of his family. From that moment onwards the escaped bird haunts the borders of the movie.

Karim is one of those gruff types of men who easily fly into a harmless rage over the mischievous acts of his son, Hussein (Hamed Aghazi) who thinks he can become a millionaire by raising fish in an abandoned water tank. But then Karim cools down just as quickly as he got worked up over small things. The movie is all about Karim's story as he struggles to keep his family afloat while never losing his snappy humour. Or maybe he does lose it for a little while before regaining it once again.

Karim's accidental new job keeps him in Tehran most of the time and he gets a little enamoured of the city and the things he sees around him. Karim's newfound enthusiasm blinds him to potential problems down the road but the movie does not stereotype the obvious differences between the city and the country. Karim's new job and how he comes about it is an example of the film's out of the blue and unusual humour. After an accident, his family and neighbours rally to help him. His simple life, while hardly idyllic, has a rustic beauty and dignity that he comes to appreciate. The sparrows in the title bring about a metaphor which relates to Karim's life that the audience will come to notice as the movie progresses.

Naji is an expressive actor and so are the wonderful young non-pros who play as his children. The story which is predominant with symbolism has plenty of humour which is woven interestingly into the larger tale, which admires human decency and simple values.

Beautifully shot and bursting with life, "The Song Of The Sparrows" will open your eyes and warm your heart.

Cinema Online, 21 January 2011

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