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.