Thursday, January 17, 2008

DVD Review : The Willow Tree

I borrowed this DVD, something I just had to do, being a lifelong movie fan and a Muslim who looks for spiritual learning points in every film.

Majid Majidi is the director of this delightful Iranian film. This is his latest, and came out last year. The story is about a blind person named Yusuf gaining his sight in answer to his prayers.

This is Majidi's most overtly religious of all his films. Yusuf is a blind professor of Persian literature, and his specialty is Rumi. In spite of his blindness he is a successful professor, a husband and father. He prays for God to give him sight as he had always been grateful for what he has been given.

The moral of the story is be careful what you pray for, and be grateful for what you are not given.

Gaining sight was ecstatic for Yusuf, presented in the way which only Majidi would. He jumps about like a little child in the hospital. Gradually, after the celebration is over, the challenges that come with eyesight set in. He sees pretty girls for the first time and sees his wife for the first time - she is plain. He sees a pickpocket on the subway. He sees ugliness.

I must confess I do not rate this film as highly as his Children of Heaven and The Colour of Paradise - which, if they were books, would be Sufi manuals by themsleves. I also loved Baran, although less so, but I would rank The Willow Tree to be my least favourite.

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