Majid Majidi's Children of Heaven
won me over with its slow gentle build and big sweet heart. I was expecting more of the same with "Willow Tree." Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
"Willow Tree" feels like Majidi's attempt at his version of "Citizen Kane." But, though great for its time, even Kane wouldn't play well alongside the big films of today. Further, "Willow Tree" is slow, but not sweet. It builds, but achingly. While there are moments of sunshine, most of the film is bleak, and the acting a little too exaggerated.
Essentially, the story is a fine enough parable with an important message that simply needn't have been expanded into a feature film. A short film, perhaps, even a poem, but as a film, the parable feels exhausted.
That said, one character brings a spark of light to the picture. He's an eccentric man our main character meets while in Paris. The man loves to be indirect, loves to laugh, loves to tease, loves walnuts.
"Willow Tree" is a story about seeing and not seeing the important things – and it's also about being blind, if you catch that drift.
I interview Majidi some years ago. You can read that interview by clicking Majidi Interview.
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