I got the sense that this guy was accustomed to being the most knowledgeable (or at least the loudest) guy in the room, so I was content to let him talk until he ran out of steam, hoping all the while that Joanna would wander back in our direction or that a meteor would destroy the apartment complex across the street. Anything that would give us an excuse to change the subject.
When I asked my ESL students last night about the great literatures of their native language, one of the Iranians told me about the Arab conquest of Persia. In their effort to erase all evidence of Persian culture, the ancient Arabs outlawed the speaking of Farsi, which, of course, only served to inspire a new generation of writers.
While the film lacks the explicit political critique of something like Panahi’s The Circle (banned by Iranian officials) or Kiarostami’s Close-Up, it offers a wonderfully told story, and it also performs a service that is terribly important right now: Our hearts should be warmed to the people of the Middle East, the people who are (or who soon will be) hiding out under the devastation of our bombing campaigns.