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Genre: Drama
Starring: Parvis Parastui, Roya Taymourian, Afarin Obeisi
Director: Majid Majidi
Rating: PG

Year Made: 2005




- Photo Gallery




Languages: Persian
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterbox
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 34 mins
Region Code: PAL 3
Distributor: Innoform Media




Threaten by a deadly disease, Yussef, a blind university professor goes to Paris for treatment. Before he leaves, he makes a pledge to God, asking that his life is spared. During his trip, he experiences a life-changing event. Back home, the confrontation of his memories and the real world unleashes primal fears and secret desires. The course of events will bring him to back face to face with another reality.


In my course of work, I’ve had the opportunity to know a visually handicapped woman who has not seen the world since the day she was born 33 years ago. After a few days of interviews and getting to know her daily routines, it made me realize the gift of sight that most of us has taken for granted. But the more important thing is how the world is viewed differently by people who do not have this gift of sight. And maybe that’s why I could appreciate this Majid Majidi-directed film about a blind Iranian man.

The film tells the story of Yussef, a blind university professor who is diagnosed with a fatal disease and has to get treatment in France. Through his prayers to God, a miracle happens and not only does he escape death, he manages to see the world in full color for the first time. But is this really the life he has been looking forward to all his life?

Having a protagonist who is blind in your film easily means that you can characterize him to be challenged by things we take for granted every day. And thanks to the support from his family and friends, he can live his life like any one of us. The first part of the film paths it way out life this, and there aren’t much surprises, except for the occasional touching moments when you wished you had been kinder and open to the visually handicapped. When the film takes a turn and Yussef regains his sight, you are drawn into the moving drama of faith and fear, desire and hope. While there is a strong religious tone to the 94-minute movie, it’ll also leave you thinking about profound notions of life and what it is really all about.

Like the much talked about goldfish in the final scene of Majidi’s critically acclaimed The Children of Heaven (1997), this film has a few striking visual imageries that will stay in your mind long after the credits have rolled. Whether it’s the titular willow tree, the crawling ant or the pool Yussef submerges himself in, Majidi once again shows his impressive storytelling skills with a few simple yet powerful visuals.

Bringing the role of Yussef to life is Iranian actor Parviz Parastui, whose glowing and earnest performance will win over the coldest of hearts. There is nothing more heartfelt than a powerfully engaging character who makes you feel his emotions right till the last scene of the film, and Parastui has done that. And I’m truly glad that I’ve been able to see this cinematic experience with my gift of sight.


This Code 3 disc contains only a photo gallery of movie stills.


The visual transfer is decent, and the film is presented in its original Persian soundtrack.



Review by John Li



Alternative Opinion:

. The Willow Tree (Movie Review)

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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm Media


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