Friday, March 07, 2014

Paratiisin avaimet / Keys of Heaven

Tampere Film Festival. National Competition 9

In Farsi with Finnish and English subtitles.

Finland [2011?] / 2014
Fiction | 28 min

Director: Hamy Ramezan
Iran 1984. Kodittomat veljekset Majid ja Adel yrittävät selvitä jokapäiväisestä elämästä sotaa käyvässä maassa.
Iran, 1984. Homeless brothers Majid and Adel try to survive their daily lives in a war-torn country

AA: The opening caption: "During the eight years of Holy Defense [the war with Iraq 1980-1988] more than 500.000 school students were sent to the fronts. 36.000 martyrs, thousands of missing-in-action, invalids and [prisoners of war] of this sacrificing sector were offered to the Islamic Revolution." (Iranian schoolbook)

Vintage war footage. Fanaticism. At the school for little children, blood-thirsty religious teaching prevails. A life under a constant threat. The female teacher shouts and threatens the little boy. She slaps him on the face. Repeating robotically: "we are permanently oppressed in history".

In a crowded train, the brothers sell tulips and newspapers. "Let us remember the martyrs". At night the brothers are reading a book. The little brother is worrying about going the front. The music and the soundscape is oppressive and threatening.

Where are the identity papers? The final exams are in a few days. Dad: those papers are all I have left of my boys. Majid has to come and see me in person. Majid: if he had his way, I'd be on the front, and my brother would be begging on the street.

On the train, a woman disseminates counter-propaganda leaflets. The soldiers come, there is a dangerous situation. The lady taking care of the boys takes the rucksack with their money.

Majid promises his little brother he won't leave him. Majid gives dad all his money and asks for forgiveness for abandoning him.

The closing twist: Majid is going to the front. That is how he bought the id papers in order for his brother to be able to participate in the exam.

A powerful vision of wartime Iran and religious fanaticism. The music and the sound world are perhaps a bit over-emphatic.

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