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DVD Review: THE WHITE MEADOWS
(KESHTZAR HAYE SEPID)



Studio: The Global Film Initiative
Year: 2009
Cast: Hassan Pourshirazi, Younes Ghazali, Mohammad Rabbani, Mohammad Shirvani, Omid Zare
Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
Release Date: January 08, 2013
Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:33m:03s
Genre(s): foreign

“So, what were you doing in my boat?” - Rahmat (Hasan Pourshirazi)

THE WHITE MEADOWS

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While I'm not the world's #1 expert on Iranian film, this supposedly dreamy film promises to be far more than simply a take on the country's current political and social state.

Movie Grade: A-

DVD Grade: D

International cinema recently took us on a rather harrowing ride on a boat in 2012’s Life of Pi. A few years back, Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof took us on a much more subdued trip along international waters. Rasoulof’s film, 2009’s The White Meadows (Keshtzar Haye Sepid) tells the tale of Rahmat (Hasan Pourshirazi), a boatman who spends his days traversing the waters of his coastal land, collecting the tears of heart- broken people who see him as a savior of sorts. Such a simple-sounding story is taken to surprisingly deep emotional depths right off the bat, as Rasoulof casts a dreamy atmosphere over the proceedings, and maintains this feeling throughout. Seeing The White Meadows seemed like an actual dream, until now, as The Global Film Initiative has finally made it available on domestic home video via this new DVD release.

Rasoulof’s film is at times dour, but it maintains a refreshing, mystical quality, thanks to Rahmat’s tear collection, and the mystery behind what, if anything, he does with them. It turns out to be a perfect blend of drama and mysticism when Rahmat finds a young boy (Younes Ghazali) posing as a dead body on his boat, in order to find his missing father. Rahmat initially plans to cast him away, but he agrees to allow him to accompanying him if the boy agrees to pose as his deaf and dumb son. Rasoulof essentially takes us along for the ride with Rahmat and the boy as they come across a hopeful old woman, a young virgin who is forced to marry the ocean, and an artist whose family has disowned him after making sure he was properly blinded, among other encounters. This journey culminates in an excellent ending that is both ambiguous and, if interpreted in one way in particular, shocking, to say the least. This is a mind-bending, fantastic cinematic journey that shouldn’t be missed.

Unfortunately, The Global Film Initiative’s DVD is problematic, thanks in large part to an extremely flawed video presentation. Presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, this anamorphic transfer is severely lacking in image detail and features extremely drab colors, both of which are a real shame, as it appears that the cinematography is quite well-done. The 35mm print that this transfer was sourced from seems to be the root of the problems, as we’re also subjected to the appearance of numerous, random black and white dots, edge enhancement, and scratches that are all-too distracting. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is far from great, but it much more appealing than the disc’s video. The mix isn’t very dramatic, but the film’s excellent dialogue is always crystal clear. Other than a “Global Lens Trailer,” there aren’t any extras here.

Posted by: Chuck Aliaga - March 3, 2013, 11:47 am - DVD Review
Keywords: dreamlike, boatman, gods




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