The Wind Will Carry Us 1999
I decided to watch this film again because I felt like I was missing important things. In fact, I problem hadn’t, but it was great to see it again and observe the naturalistic style of this interesting Iranian director.
It is an extraordinary thing when you see films from different cultures and they are so much like watching real people who aren’t acting because it comes across as something that is so convincingly real that you forget that someone is saying, Action!, or the Iranian equivalent and then later saying, Cut, let’s go again. Or Cut!, check the gate, and if the gate is clear of the occasional offensive hair which somehow gets inside the camera, saying Print. Let’s move on. Who knows what they say in Iran but that’s generally how it goes in America, England, Australian, Canada and New Zealand, when you’re filming on actual film, usually 35mm. You know sometimes in films you see that pesky crooked line that moves and flutters somewhere around the edge of the frame? That’s a hair in the gate and no one checked to make sure it was clear.
The Wind Will Carry Us is such an unusual film for someone coming from my cultural background. It is set in a period, 1999, so almost present-day, where there is little technology about and the technology that they have, cell-phones, is so basic, that when the main character gets a phone call from his important boss or bosses he has to go to the highest ground so that he can get mobile coverage. This factor about how bad reception is for mobile phones in the Middle East is expertly used for comedy in this film. And so is the fact that whenever he does this trip, Behzad keeps meeting a man in a hole in the ground who is probably a real engineer, unlike himself.
The three men who are passing themselves off as engineers obviously have an agenda which is different from anything we and the villagers know about. In fact, I still don’t know why they’re spying on a dying woman but Behzad ends up developing a sympathetic relationship with a young boy which ultimately moves him to break his cover and rescue the boy.
The fact that the purpose of the men – which could be sinister but we’re not sure – is left unexplained is part of the innocuous but deliberate charm of the film. Whatever Behzad’s purpose was and what his instructions were from his superiors, in the climax his purpose changes and becomes all about keeping the young boy safe.
In 1999 this kind of behaviour could still be treated innocently while suggesting a deeper, possibly sinister, motive for the men’s deception. Two years later, that innocence was blown to hell as the world started to tear itself apart and certain countries overtly declared themselves enemies of other countries.
After 2001 I don’t think there would be a lot of situations where Middle Eastern men acting suspiciously would be left unexplained even in fictional filmmaking.
But what the film does do – is it inadvertently? – is show that humanity was alive and well in 1999 in Iran. This is (of course) before George W. Bush, Jr. put Iran in the same pigeon-hole as North Korea and Iraq and named all three the axis of evil in 2002.
This is an amazing film for many reasons of which the ones I appreciate the most are, comedy, irony and compassion.
‘Dubbo, NSW 5th Day’
If it’s Friday, This Must be Dubbo and this must mean we have finished Day 1 at Dubbo Zoo.
Oh, my goodness. 42 degrees in the shade. We went through almost 20 bottles of water between the four of us and pretty much all got heatstroke.
Early to bed for everyone else. For me, a movie, for the 2nd time, in consecutive nights.