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Jul 21, 2003

Badkonake Safed (The White Balloon)

This is an Iranian film by Jafar Panahi, which reminded me of Majid Majidi's 'Children of Heaven', so much so that at one point I double checked on the cover whether director's name was indeed Jafar Panahi. This movie revolves around a small incident in the life of a little girl and her brother living in Tehran and the timespan of the whole movie is 2-3 hours before the Iranian New Year compressed into an eighty-five minute film.

The little girl is bent upon having a new goldfish for the New Year inspite of having a whole tank full of them in her courtyard, she reasons that the one she has in mind is fatter and prettier with a whole lot more fins. Her mother gives into her pleadings after a while and gives her the money, to buy the goldfish. The rest of the movie is how the girl loses the money and her encounters with the adult world and the world in general in her attempts to retreive the money. A good movie scattered with nuances of life in Tehran, the children's ingenuity in retreiving the money, the naturality of various characters in the movie, makes it worth a watch. The one thing I didn't understand was the title of the movie - 'the white balloon', the only time the white balloon features in the movie, is tied to the end of the stick which the children use to retrieve the money. I don't think it had higher importance than the stick, which was 'the' instrument, neither did the children seemed to be aware of its existence at the end of the stick. Maybe some metaphorical edge that I failed to recognize, eh?!?!!

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