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Time Out says
Just as assured as The Apple, and considerably more ambitious, 20-year-old Makhmalbaf's second feature - co-written and edited by her father Mohsen - is an enigmatic, metaphorical fable set in Iranian Kurdistan, hard by the Iraqi border. Two teachers break away from their nomadic group in search of pupils; one joins up with kids smuggling contraband across the mountains, the other with a bunch of elderly exiles trying to return to their homeland. Neither group is interested in education, especially as they're too busy watching out for unseen border patrols. There are astonishing images here, and some extraordinarily tense, suggestive set-pieces, particularly in the bleak final half-hour; but the occasionally repetitive narrative, the often oblique script, and the overall austerity make it less immediately accessible than its predecessor. Memorably poetic film-making, all the same.