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Marooned in Iraq [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Shahab Ebrahimi , Faegh Mohamadi , Bahman Ghobadi    DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £90.95
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Product details

  • Actors: Shahab Ebrahimi, Faegh Mohamadi, Allah-Morad Rashtian, Rojan Hosseini, Saeed Mohammadi
  • Directors: Bahman Ghobadi
  • Writers: Bahman Ghobadi
  • Producers: Bahman Ghobadi
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Kurdish, Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Oct 2003
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AKCLX
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,282 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Marooned in Irak" - another Iranian gem 12 Jan 2004
Format:DVD
An unforgetable film - it has intense pathos but also a dry and subtle humour. Shot in the bleak but stunning winter mountain landscapes of Iraki and Iranian Kurdistan, the film follows a similar tragic route to Bahman Ghobadi's earlier film "A Time for Drunken Horses"; a father with his two sons, all musicians, cross the border into Irak after receiving a mysterious message from his wife, who had left for Irak many years earlier and who had not seen since. In the aftermath of the chemical attacks on the Iraki Kurds by Saddam Hussein, they find desolation, but also a passion and joy in music, as they play and sing for the crowds they meet.
Typical of much contemporary Iranian cinema, this is an intensely realistic as well as a poetic film (cf. "The Wind will carry us away" by Abbas Kiarostami; "The Colour of Paradise" by Majid Majidi), stunning both visually and musically.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, entertaining cinema with a purpose 11 Jan 2010
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Reprising some scenes of dangerous border crossings in the snow-covered mountains between Iran and Iraq, Bahman Ghobadi's 2002 film seems to be an extension of his first, A Time For Drunken Horses (2000). Set during the period of Saddam Hussein's ruthless attacks of the Kurdish population and preceding the US invasion of Iraq, the director here however finds the world that the Kurds live in even more strange and absurd and consequently takes the imagery to even greater, almost surreal extremes.

The story - one the Ghobadi would return to for Half Moon (2006), his marvellous feature for the Viennese New Crowned Hope initiative - is centred around the dangerous crossing of the Iran/Iraq border by an old musician looking for a woman singer. Hanareh left her husband Mirza 23 years ago for his best friend and old band member Seyed, the two of them moving to Iraq to escape the ban on women singing in public. Word has got to Mirza, a famous musician in the region, that his ex-wife is in trouble, but he cannot find the person carrying the letter she has sent and he is unsure where she is now living. With the help of his two sons, Audeh and Barat, both also musicians, Mirza undertakes a difficult journey across extreme terrain to look for Hanareh, a journey made all the more dangerous by convoys of refugees, smugglers and thieves, uprooted by the bombings and chemical weapons being unleashed upon the Kurdish population by Saddam.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Across the Border: Three Kurdish Musicians' Road Movie 13 July 2004
By Tsuyoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Kurdish film director Bahman Ghobadi ("A Time for Drunken Horses") gives us his second film, about three musicians, the aged father and his sons, who are going to find the father's wife who left him long time ago. The film is benefited from the beautifully shot pictures, with a clear-cut portraits of the main characters. And this is rare with films from Iran (where the director was born), but the film has enchanting ethnic music which is not to be missed.
During the time of the war between Iraq and Iran, Mirza, once very popular singer, receives sad news: his wife Hanareh, who eloped with another musician and went to Iraq years ago, is in great trouble. Mirza, living in Iran, decides to see her, but that means he must cross the border, where the snow-capped mountains prevent the access. So he summons his sons, Audeh and Barat. Barat happens to have a motorcycle, and Mirza takes no for answer even if Barat and Audeh (they are not Hanareh's sons, and think her as disgrace to the family) refuse to accompnay him.
So they start the journey to Iraq, hearing the incessant, terrifying noise of jet fighters. The film traces their travel sometimes with a comical touch, but it ultimately raises its tone to the very somber feeling at the end where Mirza comes to know what happened to Hahareh, and other thousands of the Kurdish people in Iraq.
The film is made with an agenda, which is not hidden at all, but thankfull it is free from any obvious political messages or preachy words. Anyone who are interested in the Middle East must know the sad history of the Kurdish people, and the film uses the knowledge as the backdrop against which the three convincingly made characters move. They are all flawed, often bickering to each other, but eventually overcome the obstacles set in their ways, if not the harsh reality surrounding them.
The film's great merit is its music. In fact, the three main leads are all played by the real musicians, and the film occasionally allows them (and other Kurds, who are really enjoying the sound) to play some tunes, which are fascinating. The film eloquently shows that the Kurdish people are in a way characterized by their music and the joy, which cannot be taken away even by the bombers or dictators.
The film is slow-moving, but the move is steady and skillful, with the visual flair of the director. "Marooned In Iraq" is a simple and beautiful film with its understated but clear message.
Hahareh (Iran Ghobadi) is actually played by the mother of the director.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts a face on a "faceless" people 6 Oct 2004
By Flash - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This film gets you up close and personal with the Kurds, a people with no country of their own. It gives you a glimpse of their suffering at the hand of Saddam's regime, their hopes, dreams and the geography that they call their home. Some very funny parts too... like the scene with the young lady telling off the old guy with too many wives. The brick factory scenes constitute some particularly interesting camera work.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff 5 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this movie many months ago, loved it--found it a revelation--and pushed it on everyone I knew. Everyone responded to it with the same kind of instant affection. It is hilarious, moving, and unpredictable. I can't recommend it highly enough.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Film 2 April 2004
By Corn Soup - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
It is always nice to see an up-and-coming director make an obvious leap. In his first feature, A Time for Drunken Horses, Ghobadi was up to his ears in bathos. Not contented with the misery of the Kurdish condition alone, he told it through the actions of a small family of Kurds that had the extra burden of caring for a severely handicapped brother with no access to proper medical care.
In contrast to the grey tones and dourness of A Time for Drunken Horses, Marooned in Iraq is a colorful film, filled with rich character development and a plot that is more than interesting enough to keep even Western viewers who aren't particularly curious about Kurdish culture per se interested in what is going on. Adding to this achievement is his treatment of joy and humor in the context of what was a very tragic time for the Kurdish people. I think the interweaving of tragedy and laughter in this film is masterful.
Often in Iranian and Arabic films, comic characters tend to be one dimensional buffoons. In the case of Marooned in Iraq, Ghobadi has created some of the most sympathetic comic characters that I have seen in an Iranian film. They are warm, truly funny (though some of the humor doesn't really translate well), and a joy to watch develop on screen. Enjoy this film, and I can't wait to see what Ghobadi does next.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, entertaining cinema with a purpose 3 Mar 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Reprising some scenes of dangerous border crossings in the snow-covered mountains between Iran and Iraq, Bahman Ghobadi's 2002 film seems to be an extension of his first, A Time For Drunken Horses (2000). Set during the period of Saddam Hussein's ruthless attacks of the Kurdish population and preceding the US invasion of Iraq, the director here however finds the world that the Kurds live in even more strange and absurd and consequently takes the imagery to even greater, almost surreal extremes.

The story - one the Ghobadi would return to for Half Moon (2006), his marvellous feature for the Viennese New Crowned Hope initiative - is centred around the dangerous crossing of the Iran/Iraq border by an old musician looking for a woman singer. Hanareh left her husband Mirza 23 years ago for his best friend and old band member Seyed, the two of them moving to Iraq to escape the ban on women singing in public. Word has got to Mirza, a famous musician in the region, that his ex-wife is in trouble, but he cannot find the person carrying the letter she has sent and he is unsure where she is now living. With the help of his two sons, Audeh and Barat, both also musicians, Mirza undertakes a difficult journey across extreme terrain to look for Hanareh, a journey made all the more dangerous by convoys of refugees, smugglers and thieves, uprooted by the bombings and chemical weapons being unleashed upon the Kurdish population by Saddam.

There's certainly something of Emir Kusturica in the film's colorful exploits of what appear to be exaggerated characters and some explosive, music-fuelled scenes - a shoot-out at a wedding that Mirza and his sons play at, where the Mullah has been buried up to his neck in the earth is as entertainingly surreal as anything out of Kusturica - but the essential character is completely Kurdish and true to the nature of living in the region, the marvellous cinematography of a landscape of extremes only adding to the heightened situations. The use of music, along with the references to the banning of women singing, is of course the primary expression of liberty here, but question of the isolation of the Kurds is examined in many other ways, not least in the growth of technology, which doesn't seem to benefit the people here - it just becomes another tool used to oppress them. Marooned in Iraq is a wonderful heartfelt film, and Ghobadi a unique voice in cinema - you won't see filmmaking like this anywhere else.

Wellspring's DVD release is supposedly derived from a HD transfer, but by today's standards it's a little bit rough. The print shows some marks and scratches, the transfer is interlaced causing minor motion blur, but nonetheless it's a fine widescreen enhanced transfer, with strong coloration, high contrast and reasonable sharpness and detail. There are stereo and a 5.1 sound mixes. Subtitles are optional, bright yellow, but only seem to translate essential dialogue. Extras include a Trailer and a 20-minute interview with the director.
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