Jiyan

*****
Peter Bradshaw
Friday February 14, 2003
The Guardian


"Martyred Halabja is at your service," says a young boy in this engaging, touching and unaffectedly optimistic serio-comedy about Diyari (Kurdo Galali), a Kurdish man who comes to Halabja to build a new orphanage there - though whether this is with his own money or with that of some aid agency that he has at his personal disposal is unclear. Halabja is the town notoriously gassed by Saddam Hussein and every single inhabitant is deeply affected by the atrocity: especially a girl, Jiyan (Pirshang Berzinji) whose face is scarred but who comes to symbolise the gentle warmth that somehow exists in this shattered community. Writer-director Jano Rosebiani is Kurdish-born and American-educated, and his first movie has something of Kiarostami and Ghobadi, but simpler and happier, without being sentimental.

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