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by Tiffany Garrett, News editor

All this happens in the first three minutes of the film Crimson Gold, shown recently as part of HPU’s Viewpoints Film Series.

Based on actual events, and directed by Jafar Panahi, it gives viewers, an iconic image of life for Iran’s impoverished masses. The rest of the film, a flashback, depicts the events that lead up to the robbery.

Because of Panahi’s past work, the Iranian government initially approved the idea of the film, but after viewing it, was furious. IMDB.com (Earth’s Biggest Movie Database) states that the movie was considered too dark (literally) and therefore was not eligible to be Iran’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2003 Academy Awards competition.

Iranian actor Hossain Emadeddin portrayed Hussein as an emotionless pizza delivery driver who, through his job, which takes him all over the city of Tehran, has realized how unbalanced Iran’s government is. When Hussein’s friend Ali, played by actor Kamyar Sheisi, steals a purse that has a receipt for a very expensive necklace, the two are curious to see a necklace worth that price. However, once they arrive at the jewelry store, which is in a wealthy area of the city, they were denied entry because of their appearance.

Hussein doesn’t show how he feels, but his actions as the film progresses reveal his anger, which grows as he repeatedly faces the reality of an arbitrary and uncompassionate government. While delivering pizza later, he is interrupted by the police. Denied access to the delivery address, he is made to wait across the street. While waiting, he hands out pizza to the officers and people in the neighborhood.

Later in the film, Hussein delivers pizza to an uptown penthouse, where he is invited in by the tenant who just returned from the United States. He gets a taste of the high life and is overcome by the discrepancy between those whose lives are rich and the many who live in poverty, such as his own or worse.

He snaps, and the next day commits the robbery that will end his life.

From the first three minutes to the end of the film, the acting could be improved, however for many of the actors involved, this was a first film. Camera work could have been improved, too, by changing the angles of some of the shots.

The dark lighting was probably deliberate, a way for the filmmaker to reinforce the feeling that this isn’t a happy situation, nor a happy film to watch.

The movie overall was interesting as the storyline depicts the lives of those who live in poverty in Iran, and contrasts their lives to the country’s rich upper classes. It’s a harsh reality to see how bad life in some other countries and situations can be.


Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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