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THE DESERTED STATION

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Suffering automotive trouble en route through rural Iran, a city couple -- a photographer and his wife (the wonderful Leila Hatami) -- seek refuge in a tiny village. The husband leaves with the town's sole male inhabitant to seek a car part while his wife, a former schoolteacher, stays to mind the hamlet's children. On the surface, not much happens in Ali Reza Raisan's attractively shot, quiet film set in a dusty hamlet whose starkness almost seems surreal. But the over the film's lean 88 minutes, the wife's personal transformation -- never once vocalized -- is profound, and is illustrated in final scenes that are surprisingly evocative and even creepy. Beyond its intimate narrative, Raisan's film sketches a portrait of contemporary Iran, a country at once urbane and primitive, its people in a limbo between restrictive traditions based on community and the opportunities afforded by more Western and individual modernity. In Farsi with subtitles. Harris

 

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