Majid Majidi’s movies have always impressed me. I was amazed by the simple story about a pair of shoes in Children of Heaven and I loved the depiction of alienation of blind people in The Color of Paradise. I recently watched Baran that delved in the softer aspects of love amidst political turmoils. It depicts the conflicts arising out of Afghanis taking refuge in Iran during the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan. This conflict is shown subtly by how Afghanis are working on construction sites illegally for lower wages. On one such construction site, an Iranian boy ‘Lateef’ works as tea boy and he is replaced by an Afghan boy ‘Rahmat’ (who is actually a girl posing as a boy to get work). This makes Lateef hate Rahmat and he tries everything to make life difficult for him. Later when Lateef discovers that Rahmat is actually a girl named Baran, he realizes the hardships that she is going through to make ends meet for her family.
Baran, to me, was a depiction of Afghanistan’s state of helplessness amidst an uncalled for war and the oppressive regime of Taliban. It was a story of survival in such hard times. It is also about the purity of love that drives people to lose everything for that just one moment with their beloved. The silent acceptance of love between Lateef and Baran is one of the most beautiful scenes of this movie.
Baran is not as great as Children of Heaven, but it is definitely a great movie making example. Majid Majidi has subtly depicted the political and societal conflicts entwined in this love story and that’s what I liked the most about this movie. Majid Majidi’s movies bring a face to the people of Afghanistan and Iran which otherwise remain as news stories to us.
Verdict: Worth a watch