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Starring: Daler Nazarov, Mariam Gaibova, Farzana Beknazarov, Tahmineh Ebrahimova
Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2005








Languages: Tajik
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Letterbox
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.0
Running Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Comstar Entertainment




A 40 year old man who has celebrated his birthday alone by himself invites his four lovers to a dance class that he teaches in order to search for the roots of his own loneliness and by reminiscing the memories of how each of his love affairs were evolved and diminished, he realizes that the more the contemporary world has become sexually oriented the farther it has moved away from love.


With a title like this, this film is only inviting people to have sensuously visual thoughts in their minds. But no, not only will this Iranian/Tajikistan (a mountainous area in Central Asia which shares culture and history with Iran) film disappoint those hoping to see some skin; it will blast them away with its philosophical structure.

To all you dirty-minded readers: You should have seen it coming with its “PG” film classification. And to all you readers out there: Here is an early warning that this film is definitely a difficult one to watch.

The plot itself already makes people want to throw a big fat “pretentious” label on it.

A dance instructor decides to “revolt against himself” (this has to be one of the most ostentatious present to give yourself) on his lonely 40th birthday. He asks his four lovers to his dance studio to talk about their affairs, how they went through passion, possession and spent time together. Interspersed are philosophical dialogue exchanges, philosophical dance movements courtesy of the four lovers, and philosophical concepts about love that may turn the average movie-watcher off.

Nothing speaks better than examples, so this review shall give you a sample excerpt from the film, to provide a clearer picture of what you would be in for, should you decide to play this disc at a party to entertain your guests.

The male protagonist tells a flight attendant on a plane in a flashback sequence: “My mother has always told me to refuse two things. The first was cold coffee. The second was a cold look. What would you like?”

She asks him in return: “Was your coffee cold?”

Cut to present, cue a Latino-inspired soundtrack score, and the man lifts up a red curtain to say: “It was hot.”

And the next thing you know, the flight attendant sways across the screen in her dancing outfit, twirling her fingers in the air gracefully and says:” I brought you hot coffee.”

The abovementioned dialogue exchange is carried out in the most serious manner, and you’d feel that there is something truly important and philosophical about it.

Scenes of this kind litter themselves throughout the film, and they will only leave you puzzled and clueless if you were initially thinking of watching something entertaining and enjoyable.

If there are people who would enjoy this film, they would be the poets. We’d think that poets are the only people who can appreciate the lyrical currents running throughout the film.

There is also a whole load of symbolism in the 105-minute movie, ranging from candles, carved trees and stopwatches, to falling leaves, elegant dance movements and red wines. We are sure all these items are supposed to represent something which contributes to the theme of the story.

What then, is the theme of the story?

It is our guess that only director Mohsen Makhmalbaf has the answer to this mind-boggling question. We can only be open to all kind of interpretations that anyone comes up with, that is, if anyone bothered at all.

This seemingly pointless review appears to paint a picture where people would not be able to subscribe to this film’s approach. But to put it in a more sophisticated manner, we’d say this film is for those with “acquired taste” only.


The visual transfer makes cinematographer Ebrahim Ghafori’s luscious red curtains and golden yellow autumn leaves look extra pretty, while the disc offers Tajik Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 for you to immerse yourself in the film’s philosophical talk.


There are no extra features on this Code 3 DVD, although it may have been helpful for someone, anyone at all, to shed some light on what the film is trying to get at.



Review by John Li



Other titles from Comstar:

. Tony Takitani

. Factotum

. Me And You And Everyone We Know

. Lemming

. Adam's Apple

. Crazy

. Invisible Waves

. Paradise Now

. She's The Man

. Russian Dolls

. Beyond The Sea

. Kursk

. Voice

. The Last Communist

. Jasmine Women

. Running Wild

. You are my Sunshine

. My Girl & I

. Half Light

. Mur (The Wall)

. Mrs Henderson Presents

. Hidden

. The Descent

. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

. A Season for Love

. Horror Theater Series 2

. Horror Theater Series I

. Capturing the Friedmans

. The Wig

. A Wicked Tale

. As It Is In Heaven

. When I Turned 9



This review is made possible with the kind support from Comstar


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