Frontier Blues

  • Film
  • Drama
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‘Welcome to the land of heartbreak and tractors,’ says a 55-year-old Turkmen musician (Khajeh Araz Dordi) in Iranian-born writer-director and London Film School alumnus Babak Jalali’s low-key feature debut. Jalali’s film traces days in the life of a quartet of ‘longing, waiting and remembering’ men living half-paced lives in the northern Iranian steppes. Slow-witted Hassan (Abolfazl Karimi) feeds his faithful donkey newsprint and listens to Françoise Hardy on his cassette player; his uncle Kazem spends a lot of time selling nothing in a clothes shop; Alam dreams of escape as he teaches himself English on his shifts at a farm; The Minstrel  – ‘has anybody died, yet?’ – waits for funerals as a Tehran photographer snaps clichéd portraits of him for a magazine. Leaning to the droll side of comic, Jalali matches his pacing and tone to the hazy languor of an inconsequential midsummer, using a likeable non-pro cast, alternating travelling and formalised camera positions and the muted chords of composer Noaz Deshe. As a portrait of a land of unfulfilled promise, this is emotionally contained, a little limited but sympathetically observant and seductively shot.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday July 30 2010
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Babak Jalali
Screenwriter: Babak Jalali
Cast: Khajeh Araz Dordi
Abolfazl Karimi

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|5
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Jonathan Wright

A lovely film, painting a vivid picture of a part of the world rarely seen -- the fringe of the vast Central Asian steppes, with big skies and a slow life. Don't expect much action -- sometimes it's more a series of stills, with long silences. Jalali sometimes comes close to making fun of his characters, with their dull rural lives, but in the end they come across as rounded, plausible and sympathetic. A pleasant change from loud and busy film-making.

jamesinthesky

A slow burning masterpiece. Like sitting in a hypnotic 96 minute car ride. A must see from a distinct emerging voice in world cinema.

jamesinthesky

A slow burning masterpiece. Like sitting in a hypnotic 96 minute car ride. A must see from a distinct emerging voice in world cinema.

indieboy5

Very beautiful film. The deadpan tableaus and score were well crafted. I found it a refreshing take on Iran. Humorous and melancholic. Could have been a little shorter but excellent first feature!

indieboy

Saw this movie on the festival circuit. Beautifully shot. A little slow in parts but I really liked the way it took a fresh look at Iranian cinematic genres. The score was lovely and in some parts the film is quite funny!