A World Between
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(Feb 28, 2008)
A World Between is the true story of a young Iranian American raised in the United States, who travels to Iran to discover his father's homeland. His encounters take him across the country, from the teeming capital of Tehran, to the centre of Ancient Persia in Esfahan, and finally to the home of his ancestors Iran's holiest city, Mashhad. In each place we meet his friends and relatives who help form a more representative view of Iranians than we often see in the West. It is the story of one young man's experience, but it speaks volumes to all those who desire to know the place better, both westerners and Iranians living abroad. We see Iran through the narrator's eyes, that understands both Iranian and American sensibilities.
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It's non-fiction. Shot in high-def video, the narrator, Jason Rezaian, raised in the U.S. but with an Iranian father, decides to finally go back to Iran and travel through all the towns his father's been swooning about: Tehran, Isfahan, and Mashaad. It's almost like reality TV, although a bit better edited.
There were two things that disappointed me. First, the thing is only 56 minutes, whereas I was under the impression it was a feature-length outing. Mr. Rezaian is a likable guy and there was so much else he could have explored. Why was this only an hour?
The second complaint has to do with the bland nature of Mr. Rezaian's reflections. I don't know if it was because his family was listening (and apparently helping) with his movie, or that he needed to remain in the good graces of the Iranian government, but for whatever reason, Rezaian never really dares voice much that is significant about the situation in Iran. Never does he (at least that I can recall) utter anything that casts Iran, Iranians, or the Iranian government in a negative light. Instead the tone of the proceedings is more along the lines of, "So this is what the Shrine of Ali Reza looks like!"
Clearly Mr. Rezaian is not on the side of the Iranian government, and to those comments he might well respond that it was not his intention to get involved in politics and social matters.
Fine. But in that case be warned that the portrait you're about to see of Iran is so intensely personal that it misses large chunks of the world outside.
Additionally it has some amazing shots of Tehran and other cities.
Estafan, Iran is quickly moving up to #1 of the places I most want to visit in the world.