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Willow Tree, The

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(May 20, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blind since childhood, Youssef has a devoted wife, loving daughter, and successful university career, but his affliction fills him with secret torment. As if in answer to his prayers, a clinic restores his sight - a miracle that is double-edged. Although this new world of sight and color floods him with ecstasy - the breathtaking images seen through his reawakened eyes include a dazzling vista of snow-blanketed hills, a shower of molten gold sparks in a jewelry foundry, an array of lollipop lights behind a rain-speckled car window - it also plunges him into a labyrinth of confusions and temptations. A pretty student begins to eclipse his previously invisible wife; he silently watches a subway pickpocket, who fixes him with a look of withering complicity. Eager to claim the lost life he feels he is owed but unable to take the next step, Youssef is inflamed with possibility and paralyzed with egoism.

A resonant metaphor for life s second chances and a powerful parable of sight and insight, The Willow Tree s vivid imagery and emotional immediacy makes this Majid Majidi s most mature and ambitious film to date.

Special Features:
- Optional English Subtitles
- Scene Selections


An ASTONISHING performance. HAUNTING visual moments. - --V.A.Musetto, New York Post

Exquisite. Beautiful. Profound. - --Andrew O Hehir,

A powerful journey. Astonishingly vibrant images. - --Sara Hottman, Show Business Weekly

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors:  Roya Taymourian Parviz Parastui
  • Directors: Majid Majidi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Persian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: New Yorker
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0014N005C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,498 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Willow Tree, The" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a lovely, meditative film on the subject of - well, it's not easy to say. On the surface, a middle-aged university professor, blind since boyhood, unexpectedly recovers his sight after a cornea transplant in Paris. Returning to Tehran, he discovers that the little "paradise" he has inhabited looks more like a dead end, and he yearns for the life of a free man that was taken from him by his blindness. He complains to his wife that he no longer wishes to be mothered. He's ready to grow up, but sadly he is now a 45-year-old, and there is no living his years of blindness over as a sighted and independent man.

A viewer can wonder whether the reference is to the Islamic Republic itself, which has deprived many Iranians of living independently without the rigid control of the state. While the film tantalizingly alludes to what might have been a romance between teacher and student, there are only longing looks from afar and the appearance of a hand in the frame to suggest her presence, but nothing more of her than that. When his wedding ring has fallen to the floor of the classroom, she suggestively pushes it toward his searching fingers where he can find it. Meanwhile, she and the rest of the women in the film, including the man's wife, never remove their head scarves. There is no escaping the puritanical separation of genders, even in the man's home.

Is this what the film is about? Only partly, if at all. Blindness seems meant as a metaphor for all frustrated desires: the inability to indulge the eye (this is a movie after all), the heart, the other gifts which men and women have to engage fully with the world and each other. To see, is too see the limitations that this kind of blindness has created and to feel deprived and angry rather than grateful. The prayer that the man inscribes in Braille is to be given a second chance. The granting of that prayer it turns out is not enough.
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Format: DVD
Made several years after The Color of Paradise, Majid Majidi once again places a blind person in the lead role. This time, the main character is a 45-year old university professor named Yusef. Yusef leads a comfortable life with a good job and a loving family, which includes a devoted wife, playful daughter, and caring mother. A cornea transplant allows him to regain the sight that he lost in an accident as a young boy. Rather than exulting in his new sense, Yusef instead becomes confused and depressed. He shuns work, tires of his plain-looking wife, and fancies a young student. As with Majidi's other movies, the ending lacks a neat resolution.

The overall style of this film is in line with Children of Heaven and The Color of Paradise. The settings are realistic, the cinematography is extraordinary, and Iran is a lush, mountainous land of mostly gentle people. However, this film is more subtle and slow paced. It lacks the emotion and vivid characterizations of The Color of Paradise and the energy of Children of Heaven. The plot is also more abstract. Despite, its flaws, most fans of Majidi will be satisfied.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A blind Iranian college professor gets his sight restored. How does this affect him, and how does it especially affect those who have cared for him up to this point in his life? There are some surprises here that will require a re-viewing to really understand. This is the most subtle of the films I have seen by Majidi... and I have seen as many as I could find!
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Format: DVD
Stories about the blind who late in life regain their sight have an inherent fascination: what seems so fundamental to the lives of most of us is made problematic and tricky, as the newly-sighted learn to negotiate the world-at-a-distance that vision opens up. And that the drift of such stories is not always simply that a disability is overcome has itself something familiar about it: sight opens up the world's mischiefs as much as its beauties.

In this film Majidi tells the story with a smooth competence--with, I think, one exception. As the formerly blind Yusuf, instead of losing himself in the delights of the visual world, falls into paroxysms of disgust and contempt, these take on an overly cinematic quality--grand gestures that fill the screen (heaving one's library into the courtyard pond and burning it; jumping out of a moving car in thick traffic and causing havoc in lane after lane of it) but that don't do much to reveal the precise nature of the inner life motivating them.

Part of Yusuf's problem is obvious: newly introduced to the delights of visual beauty, he sees that a young student has more of it than his wife, and he becomes an obsessed stalker. He becomes complicit in evil in a way impossible when he was blind: he watches in fascination as a pickpocket goes about his business on a train, without saying or doing anything about it.

I think the main issue, though, is that Yusuf comes to represent the effects of a globalized world-system on family and community structures. He is introduced not just to new forms of guilt, but to the self-contempt that comes from the sense that the life he had lived and the successes he'd gained were provincial and trivial.
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Format: DVD
In the lyrical and touching Iranian drama "The Willow Tree," a middle-aged college professor, blind since the age of eight, regains his sight after undergoing a cornea transplant.

Through the years, Yusef has learned to function in a world of darkness. He even long ago stopped blaming God for his condition (he went blind while playing with firecrackers as a boy). Having made his peace with his situation, Yusef is now suddenly confronted with the unforeseen mixed blessing of regaining his sight. On the one hand, he yearns to be able to once again behold the vast and myriad beauties of the visual world; on the other, he risks losing the sense of security and comfort that comes from living in a world that is real and familiar to him.

Director Majid Majidi captures some of the visual sensory overload Yusef experiences when he is once again reunited with the sighted world, which includes seeing his wife and young daughter for the first time. And how will the change in his condition affect the couple's relationship - the roles each of them plays within that relationship, and the ways in which they interact with one another? For now that he is no longer dependent on others to get around and is free to do things on his own, Yusef begins to press against the tightly-bound parameters of his heavily circumscribed life, falling for a beautiful young student in one of his classes and becoming less willing to play the part of the uncomplaining, longsuffering victim to please his wife and mother who have found their own purpose and meaning in taking care of him all these years. Then Fate plays a cruel trick on him, making him realize that he can never be fully happy in either state of sightedness (Majidi doesn`t cater to his audience`s desire for an uplifting, happy ending).
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