In the never-ending appreciation for free stuff, we visited the Freer Gallery of Art (part of the Smithsonian Museum complex) to attend a screening of the first in a series of films shown for the Iranian Film Festival of 2005 (one of TP's joys in life). We were supposed to see The Unfinished Story, a facty/fictiony film about two documentary filmmakers attempting to make a film about Iranian smugglers and their clients who run into the real deal and help them by pretending they are actors performing in a film. Alas, the reel was languishing in Brazilian Customs.

The replacement film we saw, The Canary, is an Iranian film set in Palestine. This film is about a young boy who is entrusted with the care of the local priest's canary and who tries to protect the canary from loud noises, local bullies, and the war itself (not an easy task in rat-a-tat, constant bombs and bullets, Palestine). Iranian filmmakers seem to enjoy creating stories through the eyes of children (see The White Balloon and The Color of Paradise), but do so by exploring tragedy and humor with sensitivity and subtlety. Not so much with this film. The heavy-handed portrayal of the freedom fighters and the faceless Israeli military was jarring and disturbing which, perhaps, was the director's intention. Next up: The First Letter.

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