THE GARDENER by Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Trailer)


by faryarm

'The Gardener', Mohsen Makhmalbaf's most recent creation, was filmed in Israel in the cities of Haifa and Jerusalem. 'The Gardener' will premiere at the 17th Busan International Film Festival, to be held October 4 - 13, 2012. Following Busan the film goes on screen in Beirut Film Festival on the 9th of October 2012 in Lebanon.

The film illustrates the clash between two Iranian generations regarding their perspectives on the positive and negative effects of religion on society. Makhmalbaf and his son, Maysam, represent each of these generations.

'The Gardener' is also an exploration of the principles and beliefs of the Baha'i Faith, a religion that originated around 170 years ago in Iran and counts today with millions of followers throughout the world.

"Many of us Iranians," says Makhmalbaf, "know more about religions and schools of thought from Indian, Chinese, or Japanese origin than religions that have grown out of Iran. Maybe this has been willed by censorship. 'The Gardener' is an attempt to break this censorship."

" باغبان فیلم جدید محسن مخملباف در جشنواره پوسان و بیروت "

فیلم باغبان آخرین ساخته محسن مخملباف که در شهرهای حیفا و اورشلیم در کشور اسرائیل ساخته شده است در شانزدهمین دوره جشنواره پوسان که از ۴ تا ۱۳ اکتبر ۲۰۱۲ در کره جنوبی برگزار خواهد شد، برای اولین بار به نمایش درخواهد آمد.

این فیلم همزمان در جشنواره بیروت امسال در روز ۹ اکتبر به نمایش در خواهد آمد.

موضوع این فیلم جدلی است بین دو نسل ایرانی بر سر نقش مثبت و منفی ادیان. محسن مخملباف و پسرش میثم هر کدام نقش نسلی را در باغبان بازی می کنند.

فیلم باغبان در عین حال سیری است در اندیشه و آئین بهائی. دینی که حدود ۱۷۰ سال پیش در ایران آغاز شد و در سراسر جهان گسترده شد و اکنون میلیون ها پیرو دارد.

محسن مخملباف می گوید:‌ بسیاری از ما ایرانیان از انواع اندیشه ها و آئین ها و ادیان هندی، چینی، ژاپنی با خبرتریم، تا از اندیشه ها و آئین هایی که خاستگاه شان ایران بوده است.
شاید سانسور، این چنین خواسته است. فیلم باغبان برای شکستن این سانسور است.


more from faryarm

Hollywood Reporter review

by faryarm on

The Baha'i faith is explored by Iranian father-son filmmakers Mohsen and Maysam Makhmalbaf

BUSAN -- The Gardener marks the first time in decades -- perhaps since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 -- that an Iranian filmmaker has shot a movie in Israel, and what it has to say about religion and world peace is as radical a statement as unconventional filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf (The Bicyclist, Kandahar) has ever made. Filmed amid the extravagant colors of nature at the Baha’i world headquarters in Haifa, Mohsen and his cameraman-son Maysam Makhmalbafamicably debate the role of religion in life and war in an engaging, good-humored introduction to the Baha’i Faith. The deep spirituality it discusses so intelligently will appeal to open-minded viewers and should reach beyond festivals via culture channels.

The filmmakers from Iran turn up in the sprawling Baha’i gardens with their small DV cameras and sound equipment. There is never a trace of any more crew. In the idyllic garden colored by a chalk white path, bright red geraniums and velvety green cypresses, a hushed Zen feeling reigns. Mohsen begins with an off-camera statement announcing he’s not a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian, a Jew or a Baha’i, but an agnostic who has come to the garden to make a film with his son about the Baha’i faith. At the end of the film he will slightly revise this statement to assert, in the spirit of Baha’i unity, he is all of these religions. Coming from an Iranian, these are the kind of courageous statements that have made fanatics target the Makhmalbaf family in the past.

Rather than a dry exposition of what makes the faith tick, the film uses a variety of methods to talk about it. Baha’u’llahfounded it 170 years ago in Persia and there is brief archive footage of his son Abdu’l-Baha as a dignified elderly man, under whose leadership the faith spread to Europe and America. Stressing the need for world peace and the unity of God, religion and humanity, it teaches that Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed were among the messengers of humanity’s evolution. Today it counts more than 6 million followers worldwide.

The main characters in the documentary are father, son and the articulate gardener Eona, a native of Papua New Guinea, who brings a feeling of deep inner devotion as he talks about its tenets while he tends the flower beds.

Possibly pretending to disagree, Mohsen and Maysam squabble over whether religion has a role to play in today’s world. The young man accuses his father of deviating from their neutral intentions and promoting the Baha’i faith in the film. For Maysam, religions divide people and are behind too many wars. So they agree that he will film the negative side of the Baha’i faith and Mohsen the positive parts, but this adds an odd note of hilarity when Maysam’s very next scene shows a glowing devotee twirling around the garden and claiming ecstatically “We’re all leaves on one tree!” and “If people throw stones, give them back fruit!” She later explains more about the faith in very intelligible terms, but the feeling of New Age lingers. Like two other young people interviewed in the film, she has an American accent.

Their “dispute” also touches the unanswerable question (a favorite of Iranian films) of what is cinema and its mission, Hollywood stars or real stories? Is it a waste of time to film slow shots of a garden few people will want to see? Or is filming a kind of meditation in itself, as Mohsen suggests pretty persuasively, that helps you to develop your perceptions and teaches you to see more clearly?

Maysam also visits Jerusalem and dons a yamakah to visit the Wailing Wall, where he films a group of laughing Israeli soldiers. True to his promise, his reflections on religion and “the metaphysical world” are very pessimistic. He notes that religions all begin by promoting peace and end with revolution; they start out emancipating women and end up enslaving them. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban use religion to turn innocent children into terrorists. If religions cause wars, he concludes, it’s better not to have them.

Mohsen counters that they are investigating a nonviolent faith whose followers are persecuted in Iran; many are in prison. He’s entranced by the reverential way the gardener cares for his plants, which he likens to praying. The final scenes tip his hand, as Mohsen and Eona “mirror their hearts” by carrying big mirrors around the garden that reflect their red flowers around them, then stand on a stormy beach and watch


(No subject)

by faryarm on


Thank you for sharing

by shahrvand2 on

Makhmalbaf showed a lot of courage by going to Israel and by making a movie about a taboo subject.  This is a long way to travel for an ex-Basiji militia man. I think this movie is worth watching not just to get Makhmalbaf's view on different religions but also to get a sense of his own personal transformation.   

Esfand Aashena

No I don't agree.

by Esfand Aashena on

I think the subject itself is pretty good and should be told and Makhmalbaf himself is the one to tell it.  But I see no reason for him to film it in Israel where he is going to lose credibility inside Iran and fan the propganda that Bahais are Israeli agents and so forth.

I haven't seen the trailer yet (can't see it now) but if it is about Iranians living in Israel then that is another story, which still I'd not like Makhmalbaf to tell it.  But if not and the story is about Bahais inside Iran he could've done a far better job and reached more people and influence if he had not used Israel as a filimg spot. 

Everything is sacred


Esfand Ashena

by rbnfl on

This is what Makhmalbaf has said about the movie:

براساس ماده ۱۸ حقوق بشر هر کس حق دارد دین خود را انتخاب کند. علیرغم آن که حکومت ایران این اصل را پذیرفته است، کماکان صدها هزار جوان بهائی در ایران از رفتن به دانشگاه محرومند، قبرستان هایشان آتش زده می شود و گروهی از آن ها در زندان مورد آزار قرار می گیرند و یا کشته می شوند.

با این همه بسیاری از ایرانیان هنوز نمی دانند بهائیان چگونه می اندیشند که این گونه مجازات می شوند.

این فیلم می کوشد بر اندیشه و موقعیت بهائیان نوری بتاباند.

If the director and his movie are to shed some light on the Bahais and their faith, it would make sense to film it where the Bahai world center is located; HaifaIsrael.  Wouldn't you agree?

Just for clarification, mount carmel in Haifa was selected by Bahaullah as where the Bahai world center will be, around 160 years ago; 10 decades before formation of the State of Israel.







That was very interesting

by Souri on

Thanks dear Faryar for sharing.

Esfand Aashena

Why film it in Israel?

by Esfand Aashena on

Not that there is anything wrong with it!  But most other films made outside Iran about an Iranian subjects were made in Jordan or Lebanon or something. 

Makhmalbaf was an admired film maker in Iran and don't know why he wanted to ruin his image in Iran.  Of course some will say that this was to "break the taboo" and such but I don't.  Unless there is something else that I am missing, I think he made the wrong move. He could've made the same film in say Morrocco. 

Everything is sacred

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

faryarm for the clip waiting to see the whole movie.

It's a shame what the RR of Iran is doing to our own citizen just based on differences of........

Just like aparthied hope some Mandela of that faith (Bahai) will rise and cripple these khonkhars.

I think that's a better chance than a military attack.