Paradise is Somewhere Else

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Bored and frustrated by his life as a shepherd in a remote village in eastern Iran, Eidak (Jan-Mohammad Tajik) is desperate to head west and find a new life abroad – in the Emirates, say. Notwithstanding his father Rahman’s insistence that, as a teenager, he must obey his parent’s wishes and stay put, Eidak gives his relative Ghaber a down-payment to smuggle him out of the country and lines up Gol Mohammad – one of many illegal immigrants from Afghanistan seeking work at the construction site where Rahman works – as replacement shepherd for his family. But then disaster strikes, and the boy must choose between his own desire to escape and traditional notions of filial duty.

A rural tale of a youngster facing obstacles and dilemmas involving obedience and conscience, Golbon’s film seems at first to fit snugly into that Iranian format of heart-warming humanist fables, represented, at its best, by early Kiarostami features like ‘Where Is the House of My Friend?’ and, at its slickest and most sentimental, by the work of Majid Majidi (‘Children of Heaven’, ‘The Colour of Paradise’) – who is here name-checked on the credits. That’s perhaps telling, because for all its neo-realist veneer and sort of resonant/relevant allusions to illegal immigration, wars across the border, and so forth, this too remains, in essence, a melodrama about rebellion, revenge, responsibility and redemption. Not exactly simplistic (though the performances are pretty perfunctory), it, nevertheless, fails to shed fresh light on familiar territory: relocated to LA, this teen-angst drama would not end up so very far from ‘Rebel Without a Cause’.

By: GA

Release details

Rated: PG
Duration: 80 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Abdolrasoul Golbon
Cast: Yar-Mohammad Damanipour
Fereshte Sarabandi
Jan-Mohammad Tajik
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