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(Kavir-e Mrg) 2004-Banned

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Director: Esmael Barari
Iran, 2004, 71min
Format: 35mm
Narrative Feature




Leila Booshehri, Abolfazl Ghorbani, Asieh Kalani, and with presence of local people


Producer: Esmael Barari

Screenwriter: Davood Hosein

Editor: Ebrahim Keyhani

Cinematographer: Reza Razi

Original Music: Keyvan Jahanshahi

Sound: Ahmad Salehi


Helen Dobrensky

Digitfilms, 164 Rue St. Charles 75015 Paris FRANCE

T: (+33) 660 41 97 41





On just an ordinary day, a teenage boy happens to witness a woman dumping a dead body down a well near his village on the outskirts of the desert. Noticing his presence, the murderess decides to kill him, starting a deadly Marathon…




Filmmaker's note
“Jesus Christ saw a dead body on a path”
“He was surprised and bit his fingertip!”
“He asked : Who did you murder”
“To have been also murdered in such a mournful-way?”
“Then again somebody will kill the one who killed you.”

NASER KHOSRO (Iranian Classical Poet)






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Esmael Barari on set up of Dead Heat under the Shrubs. Photo by Behrouz Sadegi



Press Quotes

  • "A lesson in filmmaking by director Esmael Barari and a great performance by Leila Boushehri".

reviewed at CINEMA PARADISE Film Fest 04


  • "Iranian filmmaker Esmael Barari's "Dead Heat Under the Shrubs" is a "Lawrence of Arabia" meets "North By Northwest."
  • "Dead Heat under the Shrubs" has the simplest of plots, so the magic isn't found in the story but the sheer tension and the stark vistas of the desert. Barari's cinematography bathes the dawning desert in a gentle mystery entirely at odds with the frantic chase being played out.
  • Iranian filmmaker parlays Hitchcockian pursuit.

Star Bulletin, by Tim Ryan

Iranian Director Esmael Barari places Hitchcock-like chase movie among stark desert scenery. Farsi, with English subtitles obviously created by non-native speaker. Very good!

Sneaking Suspicions [ Archives-- November 7-13, 2004 ], Fritz Schranck



  • Drenched in beautiful, naturally-lit cinematography, this unorthodox thriller is deceptively simple. As the boy's knowledge of the terrain, and the aging woman's disorientation become more apparent, the audience begins to question who is the hunter and who is the hunted - they may find themselves thinking that Barari is the unvarnished offspring of Kiarostami and Hitchcock.
  • If you know what that means, you will enjoy this independent Persian offering.



Iranian storytellers have produced some of the best films ever made about the lives of children. Dead Heat Under the Shrubs, by new director Esmael Barari, throws a seemingly innocent boy together with a sketchy older woman to produce a taut, 71-minute tale of suspense. Monday, April 18 2005 - Contributed by: Diana Lucy Rooks



  • 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.
  • 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.

12th RAINDANCE Film Festival's comment, Read entire article



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7th Brooklyn Int'l Film Festival, USA-New York
Cinema Paradise Film Festival, Hawaii/ 2004
12th Raindance Film Festival, UK
6th Panorama, Greece-Thessaloniki
49th Valladolid Int'l Film Festival, Spain
7th Rehoboth Beach Independent film Festival, USA-Delaware
1st annual Turks & Caicos, USA
4th Anchorage Film Festival, USA-Alaska
4th Tiburon International Film Festival, USA
Festival del Cine Pobre ,Cuba-Gibara / 2005
Indianapolis International Film Festival, USA
Int'l Fest. of Muslim Cinema"Golden Minbar", Russia-Kazan/ 2006

9th Mumbai International Film Festival ,India/ 2007


49th Valladolid International Film Festival: Winner, Audience Award Best Film


Official Website


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