Core screening: The Willow Tree (members-only)
||From Majid Majidi, acclaimed director of "Children Of Heaven" and "The Colour Of Paradise", comes the story of a blind man stricken by a deadly disease, who makes a bargain with God, triggering a course of events that brings him back face to face with another reality.
||2 December 2006 (Saturday), 12 pm
5th Floor The Cathay
2 Handy Road, Singapore 229233
(Near Dhoby Ghaut MRT station)
Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating.
THE WILLOW TREE (2005)
Running time: 96 minutes
Directed and Screenplay by: Majid Majidi
Screenplay by Fouad Nahas, Naser Hashemzadeh
Cast: Parvis Parastui, Roya Taymourian, Afarin Obeisi, Mohammad Amir Na
Threatened by a deadly disease, Yusef, a blind university professor, goes to Paris for treatment. Before he leaves, he makes a pledge to God, asking that his life be spared. During this trip, he experiences a life-changing event. Back home, the confrontation of his memories and the real world unleashes primal fears and secret desires. The course of events will bring him back face to face with another reality.
A few years ago, I met a middle-aged blind man who had an amazing experience in his life, dealing with blindness and sight. As I was talking to him, I began to ask myself about the difference between perceptions of beauty and serenity in the real world and the world of the blind. I realized, after he talked more about his experience, that, when a man recovers his sight, there is an inevitable conflict between these perceptions.
For Yusef, the blind man in my film, serenity comes from his little balcony, the sound of nature and the angelic voices and touches of his family. The beauty is in his mind and ugliness does not exist. He is like Adam in the garden of Paradise, both protected and powerful. I wanted to explore what would happen to his serenity and his sense of control if he was taken out of Paradise.
When Yusef is exposed to the visual world, the beauty he encounters is compelling and frustratingly elusive. Ugliness and strangeness is everywhere. The aggressive presence of the world gradually silences the dialogue he had with God and himself.
I realized that when a man becomes deaf to his inner dialogue and ignores the positive messages the world sends him, the only actions he could take would be selfish, violent and destructive. When fate tests us, our life, if not built on firm foundations, often collapses.
For Yusef, the tests that life put on him reduced him to the powerlessness of a small God's creature. I still wonder what this child-man would with the new life he is now begging for ...
Majid Majidi (2005)
Director's feature filmography:
- BADUK (1992) – presented at the Directors Fortnight in Cannes
- CHILDREN OF HEAVEN (1997) - Nominated for Best Foreign Film Academy Awards
- THE COLOR OF PARADISE (1999)
- Best Picture at Montreal World Film Festival
- Selected one of the best 10 films of 2000 by Time magazine
- Selected one of the best 10 films of 2000 by the New York Times Critics Picks
- BARAN (2001) – Best Picture Award at 25th Montreal Film Festival