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Delbaran Review

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Set on the border between Iran and Afghanistan, this film centres on a 14 year-old boy who lives at a truck stop. He runs errands for the owners of the stop, but runs into problems with a suspicious local cop.

★★★★

Backed by Takeshi Kitano's production company and set in the border region between Iran and Afghanistan, Abolfazl Jalili's drama is less reliant on the poetic realism that characterised his earlier wilderness story, Dance Of Dust. However, his inspired use of Mohammad Ahmadi's imagery is evocative of Herzog and Antonioni's ability to site their characters so naturally within their environment.

The action centres on a 14 year-old exile who runs errands for the owners of a truck stop, who are suspected of smuggling by a weary cop (Ahmad Mahdavi). Focusing on the hardships of everyday life rather than the wider context of the war, even though the sounds of automatic weapons are always within earshot, this is poignant and understated.

Pitching humorous humanism against the arduous tedium of surviving in extremis, this is a fractured, reticent and impeccably played study of the courage needed to trust.