Friday, March 14, 2014

Movie: The White Balloon

It's been a while since I've recommended a movie, but in honor of Nowruz, I thought I'd share the oldie but goodie: Jafar Panahi's Bādkonake Sefid, The White Balloon. The movie centers around a brother and sister just before sāl tahvil, the exact second of the spring equinox (which happens this year in the U.S. on Thursday March 20 at 12:57:07 pm EST). Rāzieh, the sister, loses a 500 toman bank note that she was going to buy a goldfish with. Throughout the movie, she and her brother encounter different people to help them retrieve their money. 

The beginning of the movie shows a couple of Hāji Firouz in the barbershop and around the bazaar. The end is sāl tahvil, and you can hear the traditional song that's played on the radio indicating this time. (There is another example of this song in the popular TV series Pāytakht that's shown around Nowruz.)

Besides the simplicity of the story, one of the things I always liked about this movie that I think is often overlooked is the different lahje, dialects/accents: there is the fish seller with a shomāli, northern, accent; the older lady in the fish store who is Armenian; the tailor who in between his accented Persian speaks Turkish; and of course my favorite, the soldier with the ever so sweet Neyshāburi dialect. 

If you haven't seen this movie, it's most definitely worth a watch, and if you have, perhaps you'd like to see it again! (Be sure to turn on the captions if you need them.) Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I recently watched this movie and fell in love with its simplicity and elegance , how it manages to drive home its point without unnecessary fuss and fanfare . I hope to learn Persian someday too, and experience the beautiful and captivating place that Iran is. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to visit it myself yet so thank you so much for your blog, for me it's like a window to a place I've been longing to visit.
    Secondly, I've been desperately searching for the traditional song that you mentioned (the one that plays on the radio and I think the man on the bicycle sings it too, the subtitles tell me that the lyrics are "the sea is rough") but all my attempts have been in vain. If you know the name, could you share the link or please tell me the name?
    Best wishes and regards from India :)


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