Review: ‘Stony Blossoms’

Kurdish art, crafts and folklore form an integral part of "Stony Blossoms," an accomplished work about a teacher and artist who draws his inspiration from the stirring mountains in which he lives. Filmmaker Azizollah Hamidnezhad ("Tears of the Cold") reveals a sensitive individual voice in his tapestry of strong-willed characters unbowed by the scourge of land mines and poverty. With its unusual setting and clearly told story, this colorful work would make a standout children's film for festivals and broadcasters.

Kurdish art, crafts and folklore form an integral part of “Stony Blossoms,” an accomplished work about a teacher and artist who draws his inspiration from the stirring mountains in which he lives. Filmmaker Azizollah Hamidnezhad (“Tears of the Cold”) reveals a sensitive individual voice in his tapestry of strong-willed characters unbowed by the scourge of land mines and poverty. With its unusual setting and clearly told story, this colorful work would make a standout children’s film for festivals and broadcasters.

A stern young school teacher in the Garjal mountains struggles with a leaking roof to teach pupils from direly poor families. His hardness melts when he gets to know Jivor, a war orphan forced by his foster parents to work after school for a chicken vendor, despite his abhorrence of seeing them decapitated in front of customers. He also meets Bahareh, who weaves the designs he sells to a merchant into colorful folk carpets. An exploding land mine — a sad staple of Kurdish cinema — provides a climax, but not an end, to the characters’ stories. Lensing by Hamid Reza Loftian captures the extraordinary natural beauty of the place.

Stony Blossoms

Iran

Production

An Iranian Young Cinema Society-Documentary and Experimental Film Center/Farabi Cinema Foundation production. (International sales: Iranian Young Cinema Society, Teheran.) Directed, written by Azizollah Hamidnezhad.

Crew

Camera (color), Hamid Reza Loftian; editor, Iraj Shafahi; music, Barida Kiaras. Reviewed at Fajr Film Festival (competing), Feb. 6, 2005. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Kamran Hamzehaqaie, Lili Abdollahi, Hossein Amini, Mohammad Babak Dorri, Rajin Abdollahzaeh.
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