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also known as Keshtzar Haye Sepid

The White Meadows2009

  • 4.2
The otherworldly salt islands of Iran’s Lake Urmia provide the fittingly surreal setting for director Mohammad Rasoulof’s mesmerizing fable. "I've come to listen to people’s heartaches and take away tears," says an old boatman as he rows among the gray waters and white salt islands of Urmia (the third-largest saltwater lake in the world). As people whisper their sorrows, he collects each person’s tears in vials, later to pour them into the sea. A contemporary Odysseus or Gulliver, his travels reveal a world woven from both dream and nightmare where the collective always conquers the individual: an entire village gathered to celebrate the funeral of a young woman "too beautiful to live among us," an outcast lowered into a well to bury there all the dreams he has been given or a painter blinded by a king for not "seeing" the world as he should. Cinematographer Ebrahim Ghafouri brings Rasoulof's fantastic script to astonishing, painterly life, creating a world seemingly drained of color. A portrait of a land where there are enough tears to fill up the seas and where dreams are buried underground, THE WHITE MEADOWS works as both a veiled political critique of contemporary Iran and a timeless, unforgettable fable in the tradition of Jonathan Swift or Franz Kafka. Either way, it is a stunning follow-up to the director's IRON ISLAND and confirms a distinct new voice in Iranian cinema. - Jason Sanders

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2 members like this review

I guess I'll have to watch Manuscripts Don't Burn to get a bead on this guy's politics, as the allegorical elements here aren't immediately obvious, though I have a few guesses. But what an experience. The combination of masterful cinematography and otherworldly locations conjures a compelling sci-fi/fantasy landscape on what must have been a shoestring budget. Our expectations of the mentor-mentee journey film are mercilessly turned upside down, brutal yet beautiful and somehow full of grace. The ending is mysterious and suggests tantalizing new possibilities. Highly recommended.

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Member Reviews (8)

4f747bee28504a71c73e3b230d222884?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0089
top reviewer

I guess I'll have to watch Manuscripts Don't Burn to get a bead on this guy's politics, as the allegorical elements here aren't immediately obvious, though I have a few guesses. But what an experience. The combination of masterful cinematography and otherworldly locations conjures a compelling sci-fi/fantasy landscape on what must have been a shoestring budget. Our expectations of the mentor-mentee journey film are mercilessly turned upside down, brutal yet beautiful and somehow full of grace. The ending is mysterious and suggests tantalizing new possibilities. Highly recommended.

2 members like this review

All of us have Rituals that address our suffering, and prepare us for death. In a materialistic

culture they may be less apparent, but exist no less. Tears are a gift of nature for such things.

Very poignant film. A remarkably complex, yet profoundly simple film. A thought piece that

goes to the root of Being. I felt the pace to be perfect. Ritual takes time to unfold, often

millennia to fully form. Iran produces some excellent film. Ancient cultures touch something

in Westerners, a feeling of mysticism that often seems a dream, or vague memory but that we

have left far behind, perhaps regrettably so. In such cultures, everything had meaning, which

is very far from the truth in western materialism. Ultimately, meaning is everything. Note

Pasolini's Medea.

2 members like this review
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filmmaker

Beautiful and dreamy. A bit long and slow in parts

1 member likes this review

Heart touching and poetic !!!

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

totally amazing _totally beautiful_i can't believe what people believe _a total mystery_i don't know how these people live in noplace and survive_probably one of the most mysterious wonderful films i've seen

A remarkable film, not only because it creates a world made up of myths, omens, rituals and allegories, as well as perceptions that are beyond surreal—mainly because they are rooted so deeply in the astonishing land- and seascapes as well as in sync with these remote people's experiences—but also because unlike any other film I can think of, it created a world unto itself, one that is dreamlike and mesmerizing but which did not require me to suspend disbelief. The best part for me was not quite knowing what era or location—beyond it being somewhere in Iran—the film was set in. Small physical clues suggested that it was in the present, but almost everything else which swirled within the arc of the overall story seemed ancient, distant and otherworldly, though somehow you knew this also wasn't the case. The allegories are supposed to have had a political dimension which I'll need to read about since the film's stories within stories stood on their own, self-contained and brimming their own internal logic, as real and unforgettable as the tangible weight of certain dreams one carries throughout one's life.

Beautifully haunting and not obvious at all.

The combination of an incredible location with mysterious characters works very well.

Simple and powerful.

It interested me at first then nothing.