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Ostrich Farmer May Go To the Oscars

Tue Dec 16,2008

‘Song of Sparrows’ a Universal Story, Director Says at DIFF

Award-winning Iranian filmmaking maestro Majid Majidi shared insights on his latest film, Song of Sparrows, which has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and has been very successful with Iranian audiences, at DIFF 2008.

Although the film explores topical social themes such as the divide between urban and rural classes, the influence of city life, and the power of human relationships, Majidi shied away from the label of ‘social’ film. He instead described the film as an in-depth analysis of humanity that made the film pan-cultural and universally relevant. He said:  “Having the human approach in my films is a thing that makes a relationship with other humans in other parts of the world.”

Majidi attributes that approach to the success of his other films. He gave the example of his 1997 Children of Heaven,  which is still alive and well in cinema studies classes and repertory shows around the region because of its universality.

Song of Sparrows concerns a rural ostrich farmer, played by Reza Naji, who explained that his character had two modes of being in the film. At first,  Karim is kind and generous, sharing with his neighbours during good times and accepting their help during bad. However, after being fired unfairly from the ostrich farm, and desperate to buy a hearing aid for his daughter, Karim runs to Tehran, where urban life leaves him at risk of becoming cynical and cold.

Majid explained that he chose the ostrich as a symbol of Karim’s dilemma; the ostrich is two-faced, since it is considered to be a blend between a camel and a bird. Its two-faced nature is a representation of human character—drawn to the earth and materialistic, or divine and airy.

Majidi is currently working with India’s famed UTV on a story about Kashmir. Like many other filmmakers visiting DIFF, he expressed interest in working in Dubai,  saying that for years he has been interested in the lives of fishermen who have spent their lives on the water.

Song of Sparrows will screen once again at DIFF 2008, on Thursday December 18 at 20:30 at the Grand Cinema at Festival   City.

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