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Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul

(2008) *** Unrated
95 min. Typecast Releasing. Director: Nacer Khemir. Cast: Maryam Hamid, Parviz Shahinkhou, Golshifte Farahani, Hossein Panahi.
Looking for something completely different? Why not try Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, a lyrical set of interconnected, spiritual-minded fables? Filmed in Tunisia and Iran, the story concerns the titular blind man (Parviz Shahinkhou) and his granddaughter Ishtar (Maryam Hamid) "wandering" the desert in a way suspiciously metaphorical of human existence. The simple but satifying metaphors of screenwriters Nacer Khemir (who directs) and Tonino Guerra bolster stories of whirling dervishes and magical palaces, shot with skill by cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari. It's all intriguingly philosophical, especially on the subjects of desire and death. Some will be reminded of The Alchemist; indeed, "Bab'Aziz," though unrated, has nothing objectionable: it'd be a fine family viewing choice for sophisticated kids.
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