Song of Sparrows, The

The new film from Iranian director Majid Majidi, who made the only Oscar-nominted picture from Iran, “Children of Heaven,” and “The Color of Paradise,” won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival and is this year's Iran ’s selection for Best Foreign Language Oscar. Majidi’s new work, a humorous, humanistic morality tale, will in early April in Los Angeles and New York before a national roll out.


The story opens with a stunning pastoral sequence, which depicts how an unassuming Ostrich farmer named Karim (Reza Naji) struggles hard to support his family.  The string of bad luck continues, when Karim’s daughter loses her expensive hearing aid and Karim loses his job when an Ostrich comically runs away from the farm. 


Fortunately, his financial woes are short-lived, when Karim stumbles upon an easy way to make money in the bustling city of Tehran.  He inadvertently gives a man a ride on the back of his motorbike in return for a fee.  The relatively good sum of money prompts him to continue his taxi service on a regular basis.


Karim rides into town every day, bringing back home all kinds of items, old furniture, car parts.  Soon, he finds himself entangled in a foreign but alluring world defined by hustle, materialism and greed. When Karim’s relationships with family and friends get close to the boiling point, he must find a way to reconcile his new lifestyle with the old one. 


Like many other Iranian films, “The Song of Sparrow” is a touching and humorous fable grounded in realistic context, centering on protags who are played by non-professionals, and contrasting values of tradition with those of modernity.


Writer-director Majid Majidi is the only Iranian director ever nominated for an Oscar Award for Best Foreign Language Film. “Children of Heaven,” “The Color of Paradise,” and “Baran” were critical hits, which played the global festival circuit before their theatrical release in the U.S. and abroad. Majidi was one of five international film directors invited to create a documentary short film to introduce the city of Beijing in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. 


Grammy-nominated composer and musician Hossein Alizadeh, a master tar and setar player, provides the haunting score, which illuminates the text and subtext.