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Radio Dreams

An ensemble dramedy set at a radio station in San Francisco speaks to assimilation, loss and art

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Mohsen Namjoo heads up an ensemble cast depicting a somewhat random group of people who pass away a day at a Farsi-language community radio station in San Francisco. Namjoo portrays Hamid Royani, who is a well-known poet in Iran and a sensitive soul. But here he has the less-inspiring task of programming a day’s worth of entertainment (which runs the gamut from Russian love songs to invented slices-of-life from Iranian immigrants now living in the U.S.), interrupted by low-rent commercials for hamburgers and body-hair removal. The station’s manager is more interested in wrestling, and his stylish daughter just seems bored. The marquee event is a scheduled appearance of the Bay Area metal legends Metallica, who will jam on air with the members of Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s only metal act, who wait patiently in the lobby. The day — and film — unfolds slowly, composed of vignettes both comic and melancholic. Babak Jalali’s dramedy is an affirmation of the trans-cultural aspect of art, but also notes the irresolvable sadness when one no longer resides in the homeland that once fed one’s soul


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