Baran Synopsis    Go back

It is winter in Teheran. Lateef is 17. He works in a building construction managed by MEMAR, the site foreman. Lateef's job is to serve tea and prepare food for the workers with whom he is always quarrelling. The workers come from all parts of Iran. Some workers are Afghans refugees from war torn Afghanistan. They have no identity card and are employed illegally as cheap labor. When the labour inspectors show up, the Afghan workers must hide.
As the story starts, an Afghan worker, NAJAF, falls from the building and breaks his leg. He is taken to the hospital. The next day, SOLTAN, another Afghan worker, brings in RAHMAT, Najaf's son, who is around 14 to replace his father. Memar soon realizes that Rahmat is not fit for this hard work and decides to switch the jobs between Rahmat and Lateef. Lateef is furious, threatens Rahmat, tries to sabotage his work and spies on him. One day, by looking through the door where Rahmat works, he is totally shocked to discover that Rahmat is a girl. As he is watching her combing her hair, he finds himself in a strange state and surrounded by unusual sounds.
From there on his attitude changes completely, he becomes protective, helpful and gradually desperately in love with Rahmat. While Rahmat does not express herself verbally at all, with time she seems to respond to this love. During a surprise visit of the labour inspectors, they find themselves face to face with Rahmat. She panics and runs away as they chase her through the city streets. Lateef runs after them, struggles with the inspectors while Rahmat flees. Lateef is beaten up and taken to the police station. Now Memar has to pay a fine, comply with the law and lay off all Afghans.
Lateef can't bear Rahmat's absence and decides to locate Soltan to get some news of her. He goes to the village where the Afghans live, walks around, meets an enigmatic cobbler and ends up in the courtyard of a shrine near a graveyard where Afghan families are gathered for a local milk ceremony. He inquires about Soltan but gets no clues. Among the Afghans in the courtyard, stands Rahmat with girl clothes. She notices Lateef, stares at him for a while before leaving the ceremony. Lateef is not aware of her presence. The next day on the road he finds Soltan and learns that Rahmat works in the village near the river. Lateef rushes there to find Rahmat in a pitiful state, working with other women at carrying heavy stones from the river. He is distressed and wants to find a way to help her out of that ordeal.
He gets all his accumulated wages from Memar and hands them to Soltan asking him to pass them on to Najaf. They agree to meet the next day at the shrine after Najaf has given the money to Najaf. The next day at the shrine, instead of Soltan, it is Najaf who shows up to inform Lateef that Soltan has gone to Afghanistan. He tells Lateef that Soltan came to him and offered him some money he had borrowed from someone. He also tells Lateef that he has refused the money and has advised Soltan to keep it for himself and use it to leave immediately to Afghanistan where he had a life and death issue in the family. Lateef is shocked and worried.
He gets even more worried the next day when he overhears a conversation in Najaf's house that Najaf is himself now faced with family problems in Afghanistan as his brother has just been killed in the war. He also hears that Rahmat's real name is BARAN. Lateef goes back to the river to find Baran, exhausted, now carrying logs of woods out of the river in an atmosphere reminder of a war field. Powerless in front of the hardship she is going through, he returns to the construction site in a state of depression. The next morning, Najaf on his crutches is in the construction site to meet Memar. Lateef overhears Najaf begging Memar without success to lend him some money.
Lateef takes a desperate measure to get money. He goes and sells the only valuable things he still has, his identity card. When he brings the money to Najaf, it is to learn that thanks to this money, Najaf and his family are returning to Afghanistan. Lateef is overwhelmed by this news and finds refuge in the shrine. There, in a state of anguish and despair, he hears coming from all around him the same sounds he heard when he saw Baran the first time. He surrenders to his fate.
The next day in a dreamlike atmosphere, while helping Najaf to load the truck with the house effects, Lateef, now with a serene look, is finally face to face with Baran. Through eyes contacts and physical proximity they exchange their love. As Baran covers herself and walks to the truck, her shoe gets stuck in the mud. Lateef gets on his knees, takes the shoe out of the mud and hands it to Baran so she can wear it and leave. The truck takes Baran away. Left alone, in the empty place, Lateef stares at the footstep in the mud left by Baran's shoe and smiles while the rain covers it.
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