In “The Gardener,” his first feature in three years, the valuable, exiled Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf documents his visit with his son, Maysam (also his cinematographer and editor) to the gardens of the headquarters of the Baha’i faith in Israel. The screen blooms with beauty: Makhmalbaf and his family of fellow filmmakers have always filled their screens with rapturous imagery. Questions of religious belief are, as would be expected with Makhmalbaf, intertwined with elements that obliquely reflect the character of cinema and how we receive storytelling. Even at its goofiest, “The Gardener” is swoony, hardy rarified entertainment. 90m. (Ray Pride)
“The Gardener” opens Friday, February 28 at Siskel. The U. S. trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming. Previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/RayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)