Jamil Rostami takes a distinct departure from the fable-like tone of his debut, "Requiem of Snow," in his second film, a straightforward adaptation and update of Ebrahim Ahmad's respected 1940-era Kurdish novel, "Jani Gal."

Jamil Rostami takes a distinct departure from the fable-like tone of his debut, “Requiem of Snow,” in his second film, a straightforward adaptation and update of Ebrahim Ahmad’s respected 1940-era Kurdish novel, “Jani Gal.” Both stern and sensitive in its portrayal of an innocent father-to-be who endures Iraqi imprisonment for 10 years, the pic is a respectable addition to Kurdish filmmaking, though unlikely to set the fest world on fire. Some Yank interest in either theatrical or vid, due to the drama’s Iraqi-Kurd conflict, is inevitable.

Rostami applies a classical hand influenced in noticeable ways by both David Lean and John Ford for the saga of Juamer (Nezar Salami), whose plight is dramatized in a complex yet always clear flashback structure. Imprisoned and tortured after a massacre of protesting Kurds by Iraqi police, Juamer returns to civilian life to search for his missing wife and child. True to its sense of a filmed novel, the quest reveals more about Juamer’s desire for peace and conflicting forces in Kurdish society than what amounts to a predictable tragedy. Wooden perfs, especially from Salami, dull what could have been more fiery stuff.

Jani Gal

Iraq

Production

A Suli Film production. Produced, directed by Jamil Rostami. Screenplay, Khosro Sina, Rostami, based on the novel by Ebrahim Ahmad.

Crew

Camera (color), Nader Masoumi; editor, Mohammadreza Moinie; music, Karen Homayounfar; costume designer, Abbas Bolvandi. Reviewed at Palm Springs Film Festival (Awards Buzz), Jan. 9, 2008. Kurdish dialogue. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Nezar Salami, Rinas Voria, Abdol Hamajowan, Jian Ebrahim, Asoo Omar, Nowzad Majid, Behadin Halabcheie, Ahmad Mahmod, Man Ahmad, Mam Hejar.
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