Yet Another Masterpiece From Iran
- Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame review by NC
There is a scene in this astonishing film which will haunt the memory for many moons to come. A girl is in a pit, we see what she sees, looking up through the eyeholes of a hood. A group of boys stand around like evil hours of a clock, holding stones. She has to be punished for wanting an education, and carrying lipstick (to be used as a substitute for an unaffordable pencil). It may be child's play - to the boys - but we see the terror a genuine victim must experience.
But the greatness of the film is that it shows the boys, playing at being the Taliban, are victims too. Brought up to believe in violence and inequality, they turn the paper of the girl's notebook into a swarm of floating planes. War(planes) instead of school. Division (girls cannot be educated with boys) instead of unity.
The acting from the children is as natural as the air - no self-conscious Hollywood starlet with dollar signs in their eyes here. And the photography is breathtaking.
The girl, Bakhtay, is one of those children we see so often in Iranian cinema. She has a goal - to go to school and learn to read 'funny stories', and the camera follows the journey. Familiar, maybe, but film-makers like Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf, Marziyeh Meshkini, Jafar Panahi, Majid Majidi, Asghar Farhadi, and others, rarely fail to create something immeasurably rewarding out of it. With 'Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame' a 19 year old Hana Makhmalbaf joined the elite.
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