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Persian gulf

By PETER KEOUGH  |  November 7, 2007

Far more harrowing is the turmoil of the boy in Parviz Sheikhtadi’s RED ROBIN (2006; November 10 at noon). Young Aliyar tries to get back at a friend for a prank that was pulled on him, but his ruse backfires and his friend falls to his death in a gorge. Filled with terror, guilt, and grief, Aliyar persuades his Christian friend Andre to help him steal an ancient crucifix from the town’s church in order to revive the boy with “the breath of Christ.” For good measure, they steal a helmet, the relic of a saint, from the local mosque. Their journey and the agony of the parents searching for the missing boy take on a Bergmanesque grandeur, but most compelling is the child’s desperation, his pitiful faith in the fetishes of religion, and the virtues and compassion these symbols can still muster. Only a miracle can save the day. That’s how things look in the real world, too.

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