The White Meadows (Keshtzarhaye Sepid) Reviews
The White Meadows functions both as a symbolic essay of the human condition looked through a folkloric lens of Islamic religious extremisms, and a criticism to a significantly condemned fundamentalist regime, particularly by what is known as the "Second Wave" of the Iranian cinematic movement. As a man travels to several islands, collecting the tears of people, he witnesses a superb variety of tragedies and forms of suffering directly derived from the operation process of an oppressive microcosm while simultaneously appreciating lifestyles of a richly composed nation.
The cinematography provides an astonishing imagery of vast landscapes of sand, salt, villages, rocky islands and the sea itself, the monstrous keeper of human secrets and human sacrifices to the gods. With a minimal budget, Rasoulof chose the lake Daryacheh in the north of Iran as the proper setting to visually portray an impositive power, transforming the natural sites into inert characters playing important roles in the film. Thanks to this, cinematographer Ebrahim Ghafori exploited the physical capabilities of the camera to achieve the desired effect, which communicates overwhelming secrets to the soul. Indeed, the visual style reminds of Angelopoulos, or the brief religious rituals of Kusturica, but the visual symbolisms have the essence of Jodorowsky without the aggressiveness.
This aggressiveness had to be taken out, because the film's passion emanates from its structure as a mourning love letter to the cultures, folklore and traditions of contemporary Iran, which put together create a unique collective mental state, way of living, Pantheist perspective, way to suffer, way to look at the sea and contemplate its color... And still, in the tradition of other Second Wave filmmakers, Rasolouf also criticizes the present regime, as the whole concept hides a real-life nationwide society being run under the impositions of oppressive rules, particularly against women.
Playing with concepts such as spiritual transcendence and metaphysical connections with the supernatural, The White Meadows conglomerates enough fragments to create an otherwordly collage of profound humanism that irradiates empathy to ways of living that, despite seeming galaxies distant from us, are closer to us than ever before.