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From Iranian director Majid Majidi (CHILDREN OF HEAVEN), BARAN is the story of Lateef, a 17-year-old boy who lives in Tehran and works in the kitchen on a construction site. Hotheaded and always ready for a fight, Lateef resents his boss Memar for holding his wages to send to his father at the end of the year. When Rahmat, a young Afghan boy, replaces Lateef, Lateef's new job is lugging heavy bags of cement up the stairs. Hungry for revenge, Lateef sets out to make Rahmat's life miserable. One day, while spying on Rahmat, Lateef realizes that the boy is actually a girl hiding her gender so she can work to support her family. Lateef falls in love and decides to help her with what little money he has. In the process, he blossoms and changes from a sullen teenager into a generous young man.
BARAN is a wonderfully romantic tale about sacrifice and devotion. But underneath this simplistic fable is a political film about 1.5 million Afghani refugees suffering in Iran, and Majidi shows a remarkable talent in making BARAN seem like a romantic love story. BARAN belongs with the best Neorealist films as an example of filmmaking that stares boldly at the pertinacity of the human spirit.
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