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UK: Soda Pictures
Cast: Leila Hatami, Nezam Manouchehri, Mehran Rajabi, Mahmoud Pak Neeyat
Director: Ali Reza Raisian
Language: Farsi (English subtitles)
UK: 100 mins
UK Release Date: 9 April 2004 (Limited Release - London)
A photographer and his school-teacher wife are driving on pilgrimage to Mashad from Tehran but find themselves stranded when their car breaks down. In a nearby town, the husband encounters a teacher who offers to help. The village's mechanic, Feizollah (played by Iran's greatest comedic actor, Mehran Rajabi), is also the village teacher and barber; in fact, he is the village's sole adult male and its self-appointed guardian.
The husband accompanies Feizollah to another town to get a part for the car, while his wife takes over Feizollah's school-class. She has recently suffered two stillborn births and is pregnant for a third time. The purpose of the pilgrimage was to pray for a healthy birth. While the couple are genuinely affectionate, it seems their tragedy has affected their relationship.
The wife quickly develops a close bond with the children and the other villagers. Looking after the classroom brings unexpected humour from the children who live in this strange deserted place. There are no men, apart from the teacher and an old signal guard. As the day draws on, the children help to bring a new hope and life into her heart.
At the end of the day, a game of hide-and-seek among abandoned trains at a nearby rail yard - the deserted station of the title - inspires a nightmarish hallucination of childlessness and abandonment, and sets the scene for this film's extraordinary final sequence, when the schoolchildren run after the couple's departing car in an attempt to convince her to stay.