For many viewers, Iranian cinema is synonymous with charming, gently melancholic films about children. “The Little Bird Boy” is for them. Shot on Iran’s Azerbaijan border along the Caspian Sea, pic captures a natural visual beauty that makes tale of 11-year-old Behruz’s lost love for a little Azerbaijani girl all the more touching. This simply told feature debut by short film helmer Rahbar Qanbari may pique the interest of TV buyers.
With his father in jail, probably for smuggling alcohol across the barbed-wire border, Behruz and his family are destitute. His love of birds and talent for imitating their songs land him the unhappy job of helping to capture them for a local bird merchant. He meets a girl his own age whose mother comes to Iran to sell clothes, but they leave before he has a chance to say goodbye. Qanbari sticks to images and the children’s plaintive faces, old before their time, to tell his story almost without words. Their delicate emotions are echoed in a local bridegroom’s illegal crossing into Azerbaijan for his own wedding.