The White Balloon

Tucson Weekly

DIRECTED BY: Jafar Panahi

REVIEWED: 09-12-96

The first feature-length film from director Jafar Panahi and winner of the 1995 Camera D'Or prize, this Iranian film casts a sweet but sober glimpse into the life of a little girl in downtown Tehran. Panahi's film has the slow rhythm and attention to inner life typical of the films of Satyajit Ray or Ingmar Bergman. The story is about Razieh (Aida Mohammadkhani), a determined 7-year-old girl who wants nothing more than a certain beautiful goldfish to decorate her family's house for the New Year. Partly because the adorable Mohammadkhani, who shouts all her lines, is so utterly appealing; and partly because the market of Tehran, where she ventures out to buy the fish with her mother's money (under strict instructions to bring back change) seems like no place for a little girl to be wandering by herself, her quest for the fish is surprisingly moving. Though The White Balloon is about children, it isn't really a children's movie. The subtext is probably too dark for younger kids, and there's a sense of threat, nuance and subtlety better suited to those with an attention span that extends beyond Xena Warrior Princess.

--Stacey Richter

Full Length Reviews
The White Balloon

Other Films by Jafar Panahi
The Mirror

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