(aka 'Beed-e majnoon' The Willow Tree' or 'Baz ghasht' or 'Weeping Willow')

Directed by Majid Majidi
Iran 2005

 

The Iranian director Majid Majidi’s sad, soulful film “The Willow Tree” is his second movie to explore blindness and sight on multiple levels. Its heartbreaking 1999 forerunner, “The Color of Paradise,” focused on the desperately lonely but strangely happy existence of Mohammad, a blind 8-year-old whose widowed father reluctantly abandons him to the care of a rural carpenter, then vanishes. “The Willow Tree” examines the traumatic shocks experienced by a blind professor of literature whose eyesight is miraculously restored.

Both films are explicitly religious, intensely poetic meditations, filled with recurrent symbols and suffused with a spirit of divine apprehension. Both are sad beyond measure, and both risk seeming mawkishly sentimental.

The Willow Tree” is not a film for moviegoers uncomfortable with portentous symbols. Ants, walnuts, snow and sudden wind are among the many phenomena that acquire mystical and metaphoric weight. Like “The Color of Paradise,” “The Willow Tree” recognizes that for the blind, what is seen and unseen can be equally real. Because blindness allows those afflicted to imagine a paradise, it can afford a kind of protection.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 12th, 2005 - Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Review: New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:37:36 
Video 1.61:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Farsi (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed 1.61:1

Edition Details:

• NY'er trailers

DVD Release Date: May 20th, 200
8
Keep Case
Chapters: 23

 

Comments:

Hmmmm... it appears as though NY'er fell off the wagon - so to speak. This single-layered bare-bones DVD edition of Majidi's 2005 film is fraught with transfer weakness. It is non-anamorphic - I believe the film was shot in 1.85, but this letterboxed image is in-and-around the 1.61 ratio. It is interlaced (see 'combing' example below) and has, in one early scene (in the hospital), burnt in Farsi subtitles. ?!!? On the positive, detail is not fatal for CRT viewing, but to charge $25+ for this is tantamount to consumer disrespect. I believe this does have the distinction of being the only English-friendly release available, but I suspect a tech-savvy individual could make a similar edition with a stable VHS and a home computer.  

The English subtitles are removable and the Farsi audio is of similar quality to the image. There are no extras save four NY'er advert/trailers and a four page liner notes flyer.

I like the two Majidi films that I have seen - The Colour of Paradise and The Children of Heaven - this one equally well but this presentation leaves a lot to be desired. In fairness, I expect NY'er used the best source they could for this and I feel that much the richer for just having seen it, but the current price should be adjusted if they want to maintain some credibility with fans of world cinema. This DVD quality is as bad as I have seen from them in years but DVD-o-philes keen on Iranian cinema may wish to indulge solely on the basis of the film itself - assuming you still have a tube TV to view it on as on more advanced equipment the transfer flaws become quite glaring.    

Gary W. Tooze

 



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Subtitle Sample

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Visible 'combing'

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 


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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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