Set in the harsh, yet picturesque and often hauntingly beautiful North border are between Iran and Turkmenistan, Babak Jalali's 'Frontier Blues' is an incredible, human tale, with four interwoven stories, which shows the rich tapestry of life in the region; as well as exposing different social customs, and the idea both of stereotype and of authentic experience. Dealing with everything from plans of immigration, to honest labour and the often contemplative quietness of the region; this is genuinely a rich and honest tapestry of Iranian, Persian and Turkmen experience. Each of the film's intertwined tales is rich in both style and content; though the tale of the Turkmenistan man and the children accompanying him, being photographed by a Tehran urbanite is perhaps the most subtle and impressive of all. The photographer choreographs what he feels is "realistic" experience, whilst setting up incorrect stereotypes, thus providing the film with the most enlightening, gently comic, and perhaps eventually, poignant tale, of a superb bunch.
The film's script is fairly sparse, but superbly resonant and naturalistic; and the sense of human tragedy, warmth and emotion shines through in the film's dialogue and the interaction of the characters, shows just what a wonderfully evocative and naturalistic film Jalali has made. The cinematography remains perhaps the film's crowning glory though. Through bleak open highways surrounded by fields of mud and lush greenery, beautiful, but crumbling sidestreets, and the contrast of the vast desert expanses, and beauty of the sea where the late shots of the Turkmenistan group are taken, is genuinely a joy to watch. I honestly can't really think of a criticism of this film; and it genuinely excelled the high expectations I had of it. A genuinely wonderful, poetic piece of cinema; and one which holds up just as strongly upon multiple viewings.