In long forgotten
pipelines they lived

ABU DHABI — At one end there is the view of the beautiful, endless sea and at the other is the overwhelming, over powerful oil refinery. In between are long forgotten pipelines, where three men spend their nights.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Fri 22 Oct 2010, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:32 PM

This is yet another picture perfect, Spartan cinematic painting of a soulful story coming from, once again, Iran. First time film director Vahid Vakilifar, with a master’s degree in filmmaking, stands a very good chance of winning the Black Pearl Award in the Abu Dhabi Film Festival’s New Horizons (first or second time filmmakers) competition with Gesher.

Visually vivid and absorbing, but narratively minimalist, this is a story of toil and camaraderie, woven by three men moving to the South coast of Iran, where oil calls for more work opportunities.

Nezam has the gruelling job of unblocking toilets (to make sure the viewers get a ‘taste’ of it, Vakilifar ‘describes’ it in close-up shots), Qobad is a construction worker, and well-dressed, ambitious Jahan is a driver in this depressing industrial town.

Their low income does not allow a rented accommodation. So, the three friends find shelter in sections of unused pipes, facing out to the sea, where they live, sleep, chat, smoke shisha and go swimming. There is no plot or story to follow.Instead, Vakilifar observes his characters’ moods, thoughts and daily routines and struggles. Wide, long shots, as void of action as the men’s lives, often linger on to the point of annoyance and boredom, which is probably the purpose — making one feel the same emptiness the characters do.

Like with much of Iranian cinema, this is not everybody’s cup of tea, but despite the missing action and storytelling, Gesher is a beautiful, artistic effort reminding in concept and cinematography, of the great Tarkovsky and the old Russian cinema.

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