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The Song of Sparrows (Avaze gonjeshk-ha) - arthouse and international DVD / drama DVD / comedy DVD review
THE SONG OF SPARROWS (Avaze gonjeshk-ha) Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Mohammad Amir Naji, Reza Naji, Maryam Akbari, Kamran Dehghan, Hamed Aghazi
Director: Majid Majidi   Studio: E1 Entertainment
DVD release: 09 February 2010   Runtime: 96 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby AC-3 Surround - Farsi), Subtitles (English)

Majid Majidi's *The Song of Sparrows (Avaze gonjeshk-ha)*Karim (Reza Najie) works on an ostrich farm, trying to keep his family fed and happy. Karim's daughter damages her hearing aid shortly before some critical school exams, a situation which must be remedied quickly. Unfortunately, Karim loses his job after an ostrich goes missing on his watch.

You can see his heart break, and he tries as hard as he can to lure it back to no avail. He keeps his chin up for his family, telling them that he didn't like that job anyway and he could do better. He rides his motorcycle into Teheran in hopes of repairing the hearing aid and is mistaken as a motorcycle taxi driver. He's fallen into a means of support. This job in the fast-paced city gives him opportunities and exposes him to ethical dilemmas he's not had to face before.

At the same time, Karim's son and his friends are working to clean out a water storage building to make it suitable for raising fish. Karim is against this plan to begin with, but he soon discovers what a good job they're doing.

Director Majid Majidi has assembled a fascinating film that certainly means something different to an American than it would to an Iranian audience. What I see is a culture that very different from mine but also similar in many ways. Family is important to both, the safety and education of our children, love, a decent home. A man trying to remain moral and losing sight of what's important if only for a short time.

THE SONG OF SPARROWS is visually amazing as well. There are wide shots of stark Iranian vistas, punctuated by Karim putting by on his motorcycle. A dusty brick drive suddenly covered with a large amount of goldfish and water. A plowed brown field with Karim carrying a shockingly blue door across it. It's a symphony of contrasts and a beautiful film.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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