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BARAN

In this trim, sentimental Iranian film by Majid Majidi (The Color of Paradise), a young construction worker discovers that the bungling colleague he canít stand is in fact an Afghan refugee girl who has put on a boyís disguise in order to work in Tehran. The chaste manner in which the film uncovers her fraud will strike Western viewers as quaint and charming, but no less so than the smitten heroís selfless efforts on the girlís behalf, which take up most of the filmís 90 minutes.

Majidiís rectilinear compositional style is definite and pleasant, though not interesting. Watching the hero peering at the heroine from around corners gets tiresome, and the use of slow motion in a chase sequence seems overcalculated. But Majidiís usual visual restraint pays off when the camera pulls back for a dollís-house view of the construction site, or when your eye, drunk on drabness, finds relief in the few bright colors (like the green of the heroineís chador) that bloom in the second half of the film. These formal triumphs are appropriately discreet for a film that treats both its social-problem theme and its love story with such extreme reticence. In Farsi with English subtitles. (94 minutes)

BY CHRIS FUJIWARA

Issue Date: December 12 - 19, 2002
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