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Whisper with the Wind

A fairly esoteric but occasionally poignant portrait of a land ravaged by decades of conflict from all five of its borders.

Surreal Kurdish drama “Whisper With the Wind” is a fairly esoteric but occasionally poignant portrait of a land ravaged by decades of conflict from all five of its borders. Debuting Iranian helmer Shahram Alidi — born in war-torn Kurdistan, which currently exists as an independent state only within Iraq — trails the wanderings of a warm-hearted “postman” who records messages from soldiers or survivors hoping to contact their families throughout the remote mountainous territory. Marked by vibrant widescreen imagery, dreamlike setpieces and evocative sound, the often impenetrable pic should breeze through fests and niche markets.

Less a realistic treatment of the Kurdish plight than an experimental narrative recalling the works of Emir Kusturica or Georgian helmer Sergei Parajanov, “Wind” reflects on the bloody recent history of Kurdistan via the ghostly presence of survivors afflicted by memories of the dead or lost. To give voice to their sorrows, an aging troubadour (Omar Chawshin) roams the region and plays tape recordings to grieving families hoping to reconnect with their kin. Well-mastered tech credits and worthy intentions are mired by the filmmaker’s overtly abstract rendering of a harsh contemporary reality.

Whisper with the Wind

Iraq-Iran

  • Production: A Kurdistan Regional Government, Ministry of Culture (Iraq)/Taw Film (Iran) production. (International sales: DreamLab Films, France.) Produced, directed, written by Shahram Alidi.
  • Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Touraj Aslani; editor, Hayedeh Safiyari; production designer, Shahram Alidi. Reviewed at Cinematheque Francaise, Paris, May 6, 2009. (In Cannes Film Festival -- Critics' Week.) Original title: Sirta la gal ba. Kurdish dialogue. Running time: 76 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Omar Chawshin, Maryam Boubani, Fakher Mohammad Barzani, Valid Marouf Jarou, Moharam Hossein Ghader, Bistoun Ali Ghader.
  • Music By: