Film and TV

The Song of Sparrows at Starz

The sophistication and cynicism of the typical film-goer these days means that cinematic simplicity is damnably hard to pull off — but Iranian director Majid Majidi manages to do so anyhow with The Song of Sparrows, which opens on Friday, April 24. The tale revolves around Karim (Reza Naji), a family man who loses his job at an ostrich farm when one of the birds disappears on his watch, only to stumble into a career as a motorcycle taxi driver while trying to get his daughter's damaged hearing aid repaired in a nearby city. What follows is a parable about the corrupting influence of urban life and the positive effects of a more basic existence — familiar themes during the silent-film era and in early talkies, but hardly a go-to subject in recent decades. Nevertheless, the narrative proves unexpectedly resonant due to the raw, unpolished performances of the cast, frequent (and welcome) bursts of humor, and the purity of Majidi's vision. In this case, less really is more.

Sparrows sings at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli building, where it runs through April 30. Tickets range from $6 for Denver Film Society members to $9.50 for the general public. Get details at 303-595-3456 or

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts