THE GUARDIAN: Raindance is Britain's largest and most exciting independent film festival

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THE GUARDIAN: Raindance is Britain's largest and most exciting independent film festival
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News: 12th RAINDANCE Film Festival's comment about "Dead Heat..."

The latest product of Iran's film industry is Lawrence of Arabia meets North By Northwest with more than a little Wacky Races thrown in.

As the sun rises over the Iranian desert on a morning like any other, a boy leaves his home to collect shrubs to sell at the market. At the same time, a desperate woman sets out in her battered jalopy to dump the body of her lover into the well. He is the only witness to her crime and he must die.

She guns the engine and sets off after him; he runs for his life, using the textures and secrets of the undulating desert to evade her. This Hitchcockian pursuit leads us through ancient ruins, goatherds' cottages, underground aqueducts and finally to the boy's house and a gory, sudden end.

The boy's rising desire for revenge and the woman's deteriorating health and increasing disorientation mean that the original reason for the chase is quickly forgotten, as is the distinction between pursuer and pursued. This is a film with the simplest of plots, but the magic is not to be found in the story, but in the rhythms of the sheer butt-clenching tension, as well as the stark vistas of the serene and silent sands. Experienced filmmaker Esmael Barari's beautiful cinematography bathes the dawning desert in a gentle mystery entirely at odds with the frantic chase being played out on its canvas. In short, it's a minor gem of a film. NS

The 12th RAINDANCE Film Festival

Watch the film: Raindance TV

Babelgum: Dead Heat under the Shrubs

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Official Website

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Official Website

Buy the movie!