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Review: ‘Song of Sparrows’

Dan Zak Washington Post

Iranian actor Reza Naji looks a little like Judd Hirsch, and for the first half of “The Song of Sparrows” he seems to be channeling the sad-sack haplessness of any number of fictional fathers, from Willy Loman to Homer Simpson.

Naji plays an ostrich farmer named Karim who bumbles around his home outside Tehran, clashes comically with his wife and children and proves unable to hold a job. After he is fired for letting an ostrich escape the pen, he wanders into the rocky desert and puts on an ostrich costume, hoping to lure back the bird.

When that fails, Karim goes to the city to make money. He unwittingly becomes a motorcycle taxi driver, pocketing cash but completely unaware of how to get around the city.

At times tedious but ultimately beguiling, “Song of Sparrows” morphs from a sly dramedy about running a household into a fable about two ways of life (urban and rural) that can’t coexist.

Playing at the Magic Lantern Theatre; in Farsi with English subtitles.
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