Delbaran review

Dedicated to "all the children of war", the award-winning Delbaran focuses on Kaim (Kaim Alizadeh), a 14-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran. His father is fighting against the Taliban, and his mother has been killed in an air raid, but the nimble youngster has found work running errands at a border truck stop. Men and materials are smuggled across the frontier, although police chief Mahdavi (Ahmad Mahdavi) is on the look-out for any illegal immigrants...

Impressionistically directed by maverick Iranian filmmaker Abolfazl Jalili (Dance Of Dust), Delbaran's elliptical narrative consists of a series of vignettes illustrating the routines of daily life in this war-torn region. Like Blackboards and Kandahar, much of its power derives from its striking cinematography (this time courtesy of Mohamad Ahmadi), which here conveys a vivid sense of the perpetual motion of the ever resourceful characters. The dialogue may be spare, but the film's compassion and respect towards its varied subjects speaks volumes.

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