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With all the boilings in the Middle East, Majid Majidi's bittersweet tale about a young Iranian man who falls for an Afghan woman couldn't be more timely. As a result of the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, millions of Afghans sought refuge in Iran, toiling to survive as illegal laborers. When young refugee Baran (Zahra Bahrami) begins a job preparing laborers' meals, he displaces a lazy but handsome Iranian lout Latif (Hossein Abedini).
A rift between the two ensues. But after a site shakedown, Latif realizes the Afghans' dire need for money and sets off on a series of covert (and foolish) schemes to raise cash. Baran, as it turns out, is really a woman, and a taboo courtship also subtly emerges. Majidi, who delivered the brilliant Color of Paradise, again uses conservative manipulation of images and emotive looks to create a poignant story of humanity and love that anyone can understand.