Optimistic in its ending, as seen in the continuation of life through Hanareh's daughter, the film is an extremely somber type of dark comedy. The devastation of life that is evident throughout Mirza's journey, though presented lightly, gives a heartbreaking image of the life of Kurds both in Iran and Iraq.
Mirza sets out with his two sons in search of his ex-wife who sent for his help. Moving from one village to another, we become witness, through the eyes of Mirza and sons, to the degrading life suffered by those villagers. As the trio move into Iraqi borders, this poverty is made the more harsh by Saddam's constant bombing of Kurds, intensifying in the end when we hear of Hanareh's exposure to chemical weapons and the effects they had on her face and voice.
The education of children, within these harsh circumstances, is noticable in this movie. In the first 'school' scene, the student are hidden inside what seems to be an upside down crate (thought my eyes might be deceiving me). When next we meet a school of students, their lesson is taken outdoors (much like my morning lesson today though with a totally different kind of scenery). This second group of students are orphans who live in a refuge for Irani and Iraqi Kurd orphans, an orphanage quite dismall.
The movie ends in an affirmation of life and a confirmation of the Kurds' resilient nature. Life goes on in the midst of all this poverty and bombing, and the adoption of Hanareh's daugter by Mirza further symbolizes the Kurds full grasp on life.
One of the most beautiful images in the movie is one in which the students, after learning about the two types of planes, throw their paper plane off a cliff, resulting in a shot of so many white kites gliding across the mountain. Breathtaking.
This is by far my favorite movie in film week.