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Iran, 1995 (MIFF 2006, Jafar Panahi: Filmmaker in Focus)

Director: Jafar Panahi

Winner of the Camera D'or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jafar Panahi's The White Balloon is the story of a young Iranian girl's trip to the market - a simple undertaking that becomes unexpectedly waylaid by circumstance.

With New Year approaching in Tehran, seven-year-old Razieh pesters her mother to let her buy a new fish. It is traditional to buy or catch a fish for the Iranian New Year and Razieh is far from happy with the selection available in the family pond. Finally relenting, her mother hands over her last 500 rial bill, expecting plenty of change to pay for household expenses. However, Razieh's trip to the market turns out to be anything but simple as events conspire to separate her from her cash. Determined not to return home empty-handed, she enlists the help of strangers to assist her in retrieving the money.

Jafar Panahi's sure-footed direction instills The White Balloon with a spellbinding quality; he brings an almost documentary feel to Abbas Kiarostami's sublimely simple script, providing a compelling child's-eye view of Tehran's kaleidoscopic society.

D Jafar Panahi P Kurosh Mazkouri S Abbas Kiarostami WS Celluloid Dreams L Farsi w/English subtitles TD 35mm/1995/81mins

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