A teenage youth braves parental opposition to fulfill his dream to learn music in “Two Angels,” an Iranian film which vividly depicts the aspirations of young people while at the same time offering considerable insights into life in that country. Handsomely made in the now familiar tradition of Iranian cinema, pic is likely to prove angelic on the fest circuit in the months to come, and could well be selected by quality tube programmers.
Multi-talented Mamad Haghighat comes to his first feature film with plenty of experience. A short film director between 1969 and 1975, he moved to Paris in the 1970s where he founded an Iranian film festival and wrote a book on the history of Iranian Cinema. He also works as a film critic and programs a cinema. In “Two Angels,” not surprisingly, he brings a wry, experienced eye for detail to his simple but effective story of stoicism and determination.
Fifteen-year-old Ali (Siavoush Lashgari) lives with his parents in a small town not far from Teheran. His father is strictly, almost fanatically, religious, and he is becoming increasingly angry with his dreamy offspring who is more interested in music than religion.
After a bitter family argument, Ali runs away. He is entranced by music he hears being played in the middle of nowhere. The musician is a goat-herder, and he teaches the boy the flute-like instrument, called the ney. Ali steals the instrument so that he can continue playing.
Now more determined than ever to learn music, Ali heads for the capital city by bus and manages to talk his way into the administrative office of the Music School. The teachers quickly see how enthusiastic and determined he is. Officially, he needs his father’s permission to enroll in the school, but Ali doesn’t let that stop him.
Ali is attracted to a fellow student, the high-spirited Azar (Mehran Rajabi), a girl four years older than himself. Azar’s father is a more sympathetic character than Ali’s; he’s writing a book about angels.
Finely crafted film does not cover any new ground, but with its naturalistic performances and immensely likeable (even angelic) young characters, it succeeds in exploring the magic that music holds for these youthful Iranians.