Journey of the Grey Men
Safar-e mardan-e khahestari
In a charming way, the director himself introduces the background to the film. Journey of the Gray Men combines several issues with which the experienced documentary maker Razavian had been wrestling for some time. He wanted to make a road movie with an old Chevrolet and three old puppeteers. And he wanted to tell a story about the desire to return to places and friends from times gone by. His father was at some point banished to Birjand, far away in the Iranian desert, and he had pleasant memories of the friends he made there. When he eventually went back there years later, his old comrades turned out to have died.The film is, essentially, the journey of three old men through the mountains, forests and deserts of Iran. They hold long conversations, meet all kinds of fellow countrymen, sometimes even forgotten friends. Sometimes they perform with their puppets. The old men, heartwarming amateur actors, steal the show with their authentic music.The typical Iranian mixture of fact and fiction is shaped in a very lucid way, for instance when the film crew intervenes when an encounter with militant students gets out of hand. In addition, Journey of the Gray Men is borne by Razavian's great feeling for cinema and his love for the real, melancholy subject of his film: the life and land of his parents.