Bab’Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul

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A resplendent tale interwoven with other stories throughout the film. As the third motion picture by Tunisia-born, Nacer Khemir, Bab’Aziz (Parviz Shahinkhou) is about an aged, blind dervish, who travels across the barren desert lands with his sprightly granddaughter, Ishtar (Maryam Hamid).
The two are in search of a grand convening of dervishes which only occurs once every thirty years. The path to it is not readily known to them but for those who possess faith, and who have been invited, will find the way.

While traversing the endless scorching terrain, Bab’Aziz spins an ancient tale for his beloved granddaughter regarding a prince. This great prince (played by Kaveh Khodashenas) cast away his entire kingdom to sit beside a pool of water, to stare into it while contemplating his very soul.
scri pted by Nacer Khemir and with participation by screenwriter Tonino Guerra (Night of the Shooting Stars, L’Avventura), and shot primarily in Iran, the storyline is layered with tales of equal warmth and appeal. Khemir explains that the prince does not view his own image as the myth of Narcissus did, since seeing ones own image in the water is not capable of love. Khemir explains that, “the prince contemplates what is invisible, that is his own soul.”
Referenced in the production, Khemir makes note that the idea of the prince was based upon a 12th century plate painted in Iran. The plate depicts a prince viewing himself over water, contemplating his soul. Life imitates art when it was discovered that incidently, the plate was created in the city of Kashan, which is where the film happened to be shot.

As Bab’Aziz and Ishtar continue on their journey, they come to meet other travelers who also spin their own tales which mesh wonderfully with Bab’Aziz’s tale. With all the elements of a storybook, the film running 96 minutes, is a visual delight- poetic, charming, filled with mystical elements and above all, filled with heart. The film opened in NYC on February 8th.
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Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars

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Tobe R. Roberts

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