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Iranian emigre Maryam Shahriar makes her directing debut with this 2000 feature about a poor girl whose parents disguise her as a boy and send her to apprentice with a cruel rug weaver in another village. The film proceeds at a deliberate pace, the girl's drab and desolate life punctuated by cruel outbursts from her overseer but also by small and unexpected epiphanies. At times Shahriar succumbs to self-conscious poeticism, and her male characters are invariably thieves and oppressors, but the film draws a good deal of power from the passive anguish of the girl (Altinay Ghelich Taghani), who suggests the title character in Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. 105 min.

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