Baran’s the Man (well, not really)

Bailey with the letter BMy handy-dandy agenda tells me today is Movie Monday where I talk about a lesser-known Netflix Watch Instantly movie.  I’m always impressed with how well their recommendation algorithm predicts my movie preferences, but I still gave it the side-eye when it repeatedly recommended Baran.  Although I love reading, and I love movies, I don’t really love reading my movies, so I tend to avoid those with subtitles.  But after I read the description, I was sold:

When 17-year-old Latif (Hossein Abedini) loses his job at a Tehran, Iran, construction site to the illegally hired Afghan Rahmat (Zahra Bahrami), he begins playing cruel pranks on Rahmat. Soon, however, Latif discovers that Rahmat is actually a girl named Baran, and he begins helping shoulder her burden at the construction site. When officials demand that all illegal workers be fired, Latif must choose between safety and social standing, and his young love.

The sappy romantic in me really likes movies where the girl pretends to be a guy and the love interest falls in love with her anyway: Just One of the Guys, Mulan, Yentl, even that silly Amanda Bynes movie She’s the Man.  I think it’s because if a guy who identifies as straight falls in love with you even though he thinks you’re a dude, then he must REALLY love you – at that point it’s not about looks or other superficial things, it’s about truly loving who you are as a person.  Since Baran was available on Watch Instantly and I wouldn’t be “wasting” a DVD on it, I decided to watch.

*mild spoilers in this paragraph* The movie was set and filmed in Iran, so it gave me a window into a world I am woefully ignorant about.  While the conditions were heartbreaking, the cinematography was incredible and showed the beauty present in that harsh land.  The character of Baran never spoke a single word in the film, which helped protect her secret, but was also symbolic of the oppression of 

Baranwomen in that region.  The protagonist Latif starts as a brash, yet fearful boy, and by the end is on his way to becoming a brave and selfless man.  Since it’s not a Hollywood movie, there’s no Hollywood ending, which I admit was very unsatisfying to that previously mentioned romantic who lurks inside me, but it made the movie feel more real.  

Not everything worked – the pace was slow, and some of the acting was problematic – but it was an interesting way to spend an hour and a half.  It’s tough to say whether I’d recommend it or not – I’m glad I watched it, but I know it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  I appreciated the exposure to a different culture and unimaginable way of life; and as a writer, it was helpful to see storytelling very different from what I usually watch.  So thank you to Netflix for once again steering me in the direction of a movie I never would have picked on my own.

Have you seen Baran?  If so, what did you think?  What movies has Netflix recommended that you enjoyed but never would have picked on your own?  How Beautiful is Bailey with her letter B?

Comments

Little Miss's picture

Ive not heard of this film, but reviews are a great theme idea!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yeah, I'd never heard of it until Netflix kept insisting I'd like it.  Luckily, it was right!  :-)   Movie reviews are just my theme for Mondays - I'll be doing something different each day of the week so I can have both structure and variety.  

Damyanti's picture

Baran is handsome!

Thanks for your writing prompts, they were super helpful!!

Look forward to your challenge posts...
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Jocelyn Rish's picture

I'm glad to hear my prompts were helpful.  You're so ambitious - I can't wait to see the stories you come up with for all of them.  I'm only attempting flash on Saturdays and that has me nervous enough!

Nicole's picture

I haven't seen Baran, but you make it sound interesting. Love the pic of your dog with the letter. :)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

It was definitely interesting - very different, but I'm glad I watched it.  Thanks, although Bailey is actually my brother's dog.  I'm using all five of the Rish family dogs to display the letters this month.  I only have one dog, and she'd never sit still for all 26 letters, so I had to spread the - uh - fun.  :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh's picture

Probably not my type of movie. And sometimes NetFlix suggests some really strange movies for me.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yeah, it's definitely not for everyone.  Even I wouldn't say I enjoyed it.  But it was kind of like eating vegetables with a lot of sauce on them - you know it's good for you, and it tastes decent, but it's not something you want to eat all the time.  (For that example, it helps to know I don't like vegetables!).  

michelle's picture

I'm not really a movie person... but it sounds intriguing... and touches on an important topic - female oppression!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

And it was refreshing because it wasn't preachy about the oppression.  It just showed it for what it was without being strident, which made it hit home even more powerfully.

Dusty Drosche's picture

Well, I've never heard of or seen Baran, but I do agree with you that Netflix's suggestions are eerily accurate. If only I had the time to watch it all, I try my best, and see how accurate it truly was! Great post and I'm excited to start following! Good luck this April! Bye.

Dusty

Jocelyn Rish's picture

It really is kind of scary how accurate Netflix is.  Especially those movies where I read the description and think, "there is no way I'll like this movie," and then really enjoy it.  Spooky!  Best of luck to you too!

Sheenah Freitas's picture

Huh... Sounds like an interesting movie. I'm going to have to put it in my to-watch pile. Love foreign films. <3

Jocelyn Rish's picture

If you get a chance to watch it, I hope you like it.  I'm always nervous about recommending movies, and this one was a weird one because I wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I watched it, if that makes sense.

Laura Barnes's picture

I love foreign films but often find I don't watch them because I don't want to read the movie. I have to be in the mood and be able to focus.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

That's exactly how I am - I have to be in the right mood.  I've really liked most of the foreign films I've watched because they are so different from what I usually watch, but knowing I'm going to have to juggle reading and watching always puts a damper on my good intentions.  

Duncan's picture

It's lovely how you got your dog to prop up that letter 'B'!

This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.
Duncan In Kuantan

Jocelyn Rish's picture

It took a lot of tries to get her to sit still for this.  :-)

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