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Willow and the wind

By Dennis Harvey
September 25, 2000

Those who can't get enough of winsome Iranian kids and their parabolic quests will experience warm 'n' fuzzy deja vu with "Willow and Wind."Mohammad Ali Tabeli's latest feature is appealing enough on its very modest terms, but given its obvious resemblance to several, more memorable recent Iranian titles (some by pic's scenarist Abbas Kiarostami), slight effort looks likely to travel mostly as a fest and broadcast item. Related news

After initial business about a new student from a dry district who's spellbound by the rain in this northern agricultural village, narrative shifts to follow Kuchakpour, who gets an ultimatum from the teacher: Either he must replace the window he accidentally broke with a soccer ball by today's end, or be expelled. He must find money, visit the glass-cutter, schlep heavy pane on foot through rain and wind, and install it himself. Mild suspense and pretty landscape views make "Willow" painless viewing, but pic would be more ingratiating if photogenic child lead gave a less one-note, pouty perf. Tech aspects are OK.

(IRAN-JAPAN) A Cina Media Intl. and NHK production. Produced by Mohammad Mehdi Dadgon and Makoto Ueda. Executive producer, Ali Reza Shoja Noori. Directed by Mohammad Ali Talchi. Screenplay, Abbas Kiarostami. Camera (color), Farhad Saba; editor, Sohrab Mirsepassi; music, Mehrdad Jenabi. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Greats), Aug. 30, 2000. Original title: Bid-o Bad. Running time: 77 MIN. With: Hadi Alipour, Amir Janfada, Majid Alipour, Mohammad Sharif Ebrahimi.


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