Santouri - The Musician (2006)|
Date of birth:
8 December 1939, Tehran, Iran
Dariush Mehrjui, Vahidéa Mohammadi
Mohsen Chavoshi, Ardalan Kamkar
soul-crushingly depressing, this newest feature by Iranian film veteran Mehrjui is a
rare examination of a major social ill plaguing Iran — drug abuse.
tale of a talented and popular musician whose life falls apart due to his
addiction to heroin, the movie even ventures into gritty shantytowns and the
haunts of homeless drug addicts.
Santouri was banned from public
theaters in Iran after an initial screening, but is now available on DVD. Rumor
has it the authorities considered the main character’s battle with drugs a
veiled reference to Khamenei’s own purported youthful dabbling in
famous and successful Santoor ( Iranian traditional instrument ) player falls in
the trap of drugs and loses everything in his life gradually ! even his wife who
was in love with him.
he struggles to give up smoking and finds his way
to a medical institute and manages to give up smoking.
Cast: Golshifte Farahani, Kianoosh
Gerami,Bahram Radan, Masoud Rayegany, Roya Taymourian
disenchanted observer of changing Iranian society, veteran helmer Dariush
Mehrjui offers a morbidly engrossing look at a young santouri player caught up
in the hell of heroin addiction in "The Musician."
Produced by Faramarz Farazmand, Dariush Mehrjui
Directed by Dariush Mehrjui
. Screenplay, Mehrjui,
Vahidea Mohammadi. With:
Radan, Golshite Farahani, Kianoosh Gerami, Masoud Rayegany, Roya
Though the film is
boldly outspoken in linking Iran's huge drug problem to a society that's lost
its moral compass, the drama itself is fairly trite, hitting all the familiar
notes of an artist on the skids. Story's downbeat slide undergoes an
unconvincing upturn in the final scenes, which should help ancillary sales but
will cool down fest interest.
Film has two strong commercial drawing cards in attractive young leads Bahram
Radan ("Mainline," "Gilaneh") as long-haired musician Ali and Golshite Farahani
("Bab'Aziz") as his spirited young wife, Hanieh. Told from Ali's p.o.v., story
skillfully weaves together past joys with present desperation.
When he meets Hanieh, Ali is already a popular singer and brilliant player of
the santouri, an ancient stringed instrument played with two mallets. His
rock-star good looks and sentimental verses fill his concerts with admiring
Hanieh asks for santouri lessons, without telling him she's already an
accomplished pianist. After a heady courtship, the couple persuade a friendly
mullah to celebrate an informal marriage at home. Their happy alternative
lifestyle has only one sour note: Ali's increasing drug abuse.
In one of the film's frankest scenes, Hanieh mockingly asks an acquaintance
if he knows any musicians who don't smoke, drink or do drugs. However, the film
dances around the idea that it's also society's fault. Ali's rich, cold-hearted
family disinherited him when he became a professional musician, and the
government's hostility to contemporary music robbed him of his income and
self-respect. More generally, Ali sees Iran as a "ruthless, lying country that
turns people into addicts."
Bright-faced Farahani digs into the role of Hanieh, whose natural gaiety
vanishes under the strain. She joins a classical music trio to support them and
his drug habit, but finally (and realistically) throws in the towel. When she
leaves for Canada with another man, Ali's world collapses.
Last half-hour is a depressing description of how he sinks to the bottom,
ending up as one of Tehran's army of homeless junkies.
Radan earned a best actor nod at this year's Fajr fest for his realistic
depiction of a human wreck. Editor Mehdi Hosseinivand does a fine job
reconstructing Ali's fall in flashback, which helps mask the familiarity of it
all. In its fusion of modern and traditional music, the santouri playing has a
Camera (color), Toraj Mansouri; editor, Mehdi Hosseinivand; music, Ardavan
Kamkar; lyrics/vocals, Mohsen Chavoshi; production designer, M. Sharifinia;
sound, Iraj Shahzadi. Reviewed on DVD, Rome, Feb. 25, 2007. (In Fajr Film
Festival.) Running time: 106 MIN.
Selected filmography of Dariush Mehrjui
- Tehran Tehran (2010)
- The Musician - Ali santoori (2006)
- Bemani (2002)
- The Mix (2000)
- Tales of an Island (2000)
- The Lady | Banoo (1999)
- The Pear Tree - Derakht-E Golabi (1998)
- Leila (1996)
- Pari (1995)
- Sara (1993)
- Hamoun (1990)
- The Tenants - Lodgers - Ejareh-Nesheenha (1987)
- The Cycle - Dayereh Mina (1976)
- Postman - Postchi (1973)
- Mr. Simpleton - Aghay-e Haloo (1971)
- The Cow - Gaav (1969)