Daily News header

The Willow Tree DVD Review

By Prairie Miller

Less about physical disability as a path either to or away from personal enlightenment than a meditation on human knowledge and its ambiguities, Iranian director Majid Majidi's The Willow Tree utilizes physical metaphors to explore weighty human spiritual and existential issues. Though veering far too close for comfort at times to emotional manipulation of the audience, the film is predominantly crafted with engaging visual lyricism and intense, brooding introspection.

Youssef (Parvis Parastui) is a forty five year old blind university professor of literature devoted to his intellectual craft, as he studies and writes with vigorous intensity in braille. Though lonely and understandably withdrawn in his daily life, Youssef is surrounded by the love and warmth of a doting wife and bubbly young daughter.

Blinded since the age of eight by a fireworks accident, Youssef seems resigned and at peace with his fate. But when a friend arranges for him to fly to Paris to receive a cornea transplant which miraculously restores his sight, the professor's marginalzed but safe world slowly unravels following initial euphoria over his regained sight. Shocked to behold in the mirror, not the child whose gaze he left there decades ago but an aging man in his middle years, Youssef undergoes a traumatic midlife crisis which ironically, thrusts him into the frank visual reality of his world that blindness protected him from.

Troublesome moral questions arise and ensue, such as thoughts of infidelity and an irrepressible attraction to younger women which he was denied in his youth through blindness. Also, his moral obligations to society that sight now suddenly mandates, as when he witnesses a pickpocketing of another passenger on a crowded subway train, and is too cowardly to actively protest and intercede.

The Willow Tree is a vividly conceived sensual, emotional and philosophical journey touching on our relation to human existence and its joys and wonders, but tempered by the testing of one's moral responsibility and intimate, undeniable connection to the world around us. Perhaps Majidi also intended wry commentary and observation of the dubious influences of Western culture on the Iranian people, where technological and material advances impart an outside knowledge that is not necessarily likewise wisdom, enlightenment or virtue.

New Yorker Video
Unrated
2 1/2 stars

DVD Features: Full Frame; Keep Case; In Farsi, with English subtitles.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Some cities lost points for strong negative indicators for African American literacy as reflected on reports like, The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2010.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the emerging star compares her Belle role to her new role in Beyond the Lights, where she plays Noni, a pop star who falls for her hunky, supportive bodyguard.
Directed by Pat O'Connor (Sweet November), the screen version is an intriguing romance drama which takes a sharp turn about midway through when Tommo and Charlie enlist in the army and ship off to serve their country in Flanders' fields.
Before the month of October ends, here are the must-see movies to give viewers thrills and chills on the Halloween weekends.
Kam Williams interviews Haley Joel Osment, who played Cole, in The Sixth Sense, as the boy with the iconic line, I see dead people. Now in Sex Ed.
Seemingly a satire in some ways, of Keaton's ambivalent transformation into Tim Burton's Batman a quarter of a century ago, Birdman appears to be Keaton's venture into unprecedented extreme acting.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site