My favourite film of the festival so far. Not quite a 5 star but a solid 4.5. This sweet, deadpan, gorgeously rendered exploration of cultural displacement is set in an Iranian radio station in San Francisco. The band Metallica has promised to call in to jam with Afghani band Kabul Dreams; Mr Royani, the wild-haired director of programming sees it as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation in the aftermath of 9/11.
With understated pathos, we begin to see the separate worlds, dreams and experiences of each character – those who work at the radio station, guests like Miss Iran USA and the people who have sent in their stories of Iranian life in the US to be read on air. At the centre is Royani, an Iranian writer trying desperately to create the Iran he loves around him in a foreign land, railing at the loss of appreciation for art and language and sorrow.
The colour palette is exquisite with a repeating motif of grey blue and amber colouring each scene. We are given time to watch and listen and slowly understand. The arrival of Metallica is a McGuffin that piques our interest and epitomises the love of celebrity that Mr Royani so despises.
Bechdel test – pass