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.