Every once in a while, for me it happens every four or five years, you see something that is so beautiful that it’s nearly impossible to believe it was shot on the planet we live on. Forget the green screens and CGI and let’s talk Tarsem and his talent for shooting locations and making them look like creations of the mind. Out of this real world comes a fantastic tale, one full of tragedy, music, magic and immense, breathtaking beauty. Out of this world comes The White Meadows.
A tale that could easily come from “The Arabian Nights,” Mohammad Rasoulof’s film is the story of a man named Rahmat who travels by boat from island to island alleviating individuals of their secrets and suffering and at the same time, collecting their tears. On his first stop, he picks up the body of a woman who died eight days before, a woman of so much beauty the town elders feared to bury her because the young men in the village would dig her up to look upon her. Curious and now far from shore on his little boat, Rahmat sneaks a peek and discovers, rather than a very dead, very beautiful woman, a very young and alive boy who staged his escape for a chance to search for his father.
Rahmat, with boy in tow, continues on his adventures, arriving at towns, hearing and seeing people suffer and with each visit, collecting more tears. What are the tears for? That is the mystery and to find out, you’ll have to see the film. It may be a difficult one to track down but it’s one well worth the search.
Shot on location on Lake Urmia and the islands that dot the lake in north east Iran, Rasoulof’s film is like a beautiful dream, one filled with jaw dropping locales, moments of sadness and wonder and even a handful of laughs (I was particularly taken by the prison keeper).
I’m sure there’s some meaning to the myth created in The White Meadows and perhaps some day, I may even take a moment to consider it in more detail but as of right now, all I want to do is book my trip to Iran to experience these surroundings for myself. Until the day that happens, I’ll simply have to keep an eye out for a DVD release.
If this is rolling into a festival near you, you owe it to yourself to see it on the big screen.
See VIFF screening schedule for show times.