Monday, October 20, 2014

Keshtzar haye sepid

The film's secrets, its tears, the sadness of today and the laughter of tomorrow, the pastures of yesterday and the land where there is no salty sea of tomorrow: they will all vanish, evaporate, be no more, like a swan that will fly away. What will remain is the essence, not in a form of theory, not in a spark of recognition, not in a feeling of achievement: it will remain in the form of perpetual mourning, perpetual search, perpetual voyage; and in the form of stunning visuals of Rasoulof's masterpiece that is Keshtzar haye sepid (known under various names internationally, such as White or The Secret Tears or The White Meadows). The pearl that the tears will accrete into is the heart of the tears collector, Rahmat. Hard, having no clemency unlike his name: or maybe playing the god, not playing the role of the good man, the bad man. He will meet the father, but will not tell the son is here; he will meet the sea's wife again, but will not tell of that one who was stoned to death for her; he will know to preserve each secret deep inside, weaving a pearl, holy in this ablution, not choosing to decide for himself when revelation is good and when not. He himself has become the salt: indispensable, like the famed lowest-caste untouchable pyre-burner of Indic lands; but carrying a grave responsibility, carrying the need to not laugh and yet keep his sanity when lamentations, sins and rituals are repeated in every man, every island, every people, every age, every gender. He has become the salt that preserves death and burns life, but that attacks wounds and seasons meat. The dead shall arise again, the blind shall see again and Iran will come out of a constant vigil at the dying man's bedside.

The dying man is Iran, since centuries: not for a disease, but for a lack of youth. I remember when I was staying in the home of an Iranian family, the man asked me if I had noticed how people in Iran are always sad. Even if they laugh, they are sad. Even if they joke, they are thinking of death. They are afraid of it, but cannot rush to party to banish that fear, as the West does, and nor can overcome that fear, as India long ago learnt to. There is a vulture in the air; there is the smell of salt everywhere. Bright, burning salt. Lands that keep stretching and seas that never end: they are so banal, so nothing. That nothing itself becomes the most beautiful landscape. Iran relived in me when I watched this film, but so did also the amazing power of man, of his stories, of his camera, of his penchant for telling tales. There can be few films that are so beautiful to watch and that can say so much with so few words used.

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