Willow Tree, The
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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.
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Exquisite. Beautiful. Profound. - --Andrew O Hehir, Salon.com
A powerful journey. Astonishingly vibrant images. - --Sara Hottman, Show Business Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A SUPERB PIECE OF ART, THIS DIRECTOR HAS PUT HIS HEART & SOUL IN THIS MOVIE, I WAS SPELLBOUND WHILE WATCHING.Published 14 months ago by Saulat Khan
It's a gem of a movie. Very well made with a strong message. Buy this movie; you will love it.Published on December 26, 2013 by ric martinez
Yusef regains his sight (lost at age 8 after an accident with fireworks) at age 45 and discovers the world in which he was comfortable and cared for is no longer enough for him. Read morePublished on April 1, 2013 by Amazon Customer
The concept of this film is intriguing, however the execution of the story didn't resonate well with me. Read morePublished on October 29, 2011 by Angela S.