100 Frames: Baran (2001)

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Esopus inaugurated its “100 Frames” series—in which 100 still images from a film are reproduced in the issue—with this remarkable 2001 film by Teheran-based director Majid Majidi. The sequence reproduced in the issue comes from the end of film as its two protagonists, Baran and Latif, part company—most likely, forever. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University professor and author of Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future, discusses the political, cultural and cinematic resonance of Baran’s ultimate gesture in his accompanying essay.

Tehran-based director Majid Majidi’s films include Baduk (1992), Children of Heaven (1997; Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film), The Color of Paradise (1999), Baran (2001 winner of the Grand Prix des Ameriques at the Montreal Film Festival and Best Director Award at Tehran’s Fajr International Film Festival), Beyond the Clouds (2017), and Sun Children (2020). Majidi’s 2002 documentary Barefoot to Herat, shot during two trips the director made to refugee camps in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, won the Fipresci Award at the Thessaloniki Festival. His film The Willow Tree (2005) won four awards at the 2005 Fajr Festival.

Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. An internationally renowned cultural critic and author, he has written over two dozen books and 100 essays, articles, and book reviews in major peer-reviewed journals. His recent books include An Iranian Childhood: Rethinking History and Memory (Cambridge University Press, 2023), The Persian Prince: The Rise and Resurrection of an Imperial Archetype (Standford University Press, 2023), The End of Two Illusions: Islam After the West (California University Press, 2022), The Last Muslim Intellectual: The Life and Legacy of Jalal Al–e Ahmad (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), On Edward Said: Remembrance of Things Past (Haymarket Books, 2020), and The Emperor is Naked: On the Inevitable Demise of the Nation State (Zed Books, 2020).