VIDEO: The trailer for The Song of Sparrows
Its title notwithstanding, the bird most in evidence in Majid Majidi's look at the conflict between tradition and modernity, city and country, is much larger and less musical. The film opens at an ostrich ranch, where, in one of its more surreal moments, Karim (Reza Najie) scours the desert landscape wearing a fake tail and a long-necked head in search of a missing fowl.
Despite his efforts, he loses his job at the ranch, so he heads to Tehran on his motorbike to find work. Through various misadventures, he lands a job as a deliveryman, and that leads to another strange image — an army of men on tiny bikes carrying huge boxes of appliances like leaf-cutter ants despoiling a forest.
Inevitably, Karim's simplicity and his values deteriorate when he's exposed to the cutthroat self-interest and materialism of the big city. Can his loyal wife and long-suffering children restore him to the roost? Despite lapses into sentiment, Majidi's Songs rings true.