The Willow Tree



New Yorker Films

NEW YORK -- Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi, who movingly dealt with the subject of blindness in "The Color of Paradise," fruitfully revisits the topic in this philosophical drama about a middle-age college professor who regains his sight after being blind since childhood. Although "The Willow Tree" occasionally suffers from a surfeit of portentous symbolism, it is ultimately a powerful portrait of a man who gets what he always wanted, only to find that he suffers greatly in the process. The film is playing an exclusive engagement at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

The central character is Youssef (Parviz Parastui), who lives a contented existence with his wife and daughter, making a good living as a literature professor at a nearby university. The only thing he longs for is his sight, lost as a result of an accident when he was 7.

But after a miracle cornea transplant operation in Paris restores his vision, his initial euphoria is quickly replaced by an existential despair. Suddenly, the things he valued mean much less to him: his less-than-beautiful wife no longer appeals, and he begins lusting after younger women. He feels helpless when confronted with the sight of a pickpocket plying his trade. Even his scholarly writing begins to matter less.

Majidi infuses his simple yet eloquent tale with stunning imagery designed to make us relate to Youssef's reawakening. As the character struggles with his regained visual sense, the numerous metaphorical implications of his journey resonate deeper, culminating with the powerfully spiritual ending.