Radio Dreams

A brilliant and misunderstood Iranian writer struggles to pursue his ambitious goal of bringing together Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan's first rock band.

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  • ★★★★★ review by Dan Slevin on Letterboxd

    Radio Dreams is very funny and at times hauntingly heartbreaking – the perfect example of a film that only the festival will put in front of you.”

    RNZ Widescreen

  • ★★★½ review by randystaat on Letterboxd

    This is a film that will really make you like Lars Ulrich. I consider that a success. All joking aside, I grew up listening to Metallica with my dad and they were a big influence for me wanting to play drums when I was 13. 



    Radio Dreams features a band, Kabul Dreams, who have come to San Francisco for a segment on an Iranian radio station to talk and then jam with Metallica. It's also a close look at the inner workings of the Iranian radio station, and the film tracks a day in the life of both the band and the station. 

    Tensions start to rise throughout the day as it becomes more apparent that Metallica is late, or won't show at all...

    Spoiler Alert: Metallica doesn't show up, but Lars does, and the band gets to talk to and jam with him, off the air. It's a great scene that's played subtly.

  • ★★★★½ review by Jacob Powell on Letterboxd

    Drawn with incisive, intelligent humour, Babak Jalali’s deadpan comedy of souls adrift, Radio Dreams, is also a surprisingly beautiful aesthetic piece. Gorgeously hued in blues, grays and oranges, the film is shot with a photographer’s eye for composition. Switching between held-almost-too-long closeups of awkwardly under-emoting faces and creatively composed yet unfussy wide shots, the director humorously exposes the troubled interiors of the lead characters as they squabble over a day’s programming at PARS radio (San Fran’s “no. 1” Farsi radio station), supposedly culminating in a special visit by Metallica...

    [Read NZIFF 2016 capsule review at The Pantograph Punch.]

  • ★★★★ review by Marko Stojiljkovic on Letterboxd

    Radio Dreams iransko-britanskog autora Babaka Jalalija se takođe može nazvati komadićem “irano-americane”, ne samo zbog koprodukcijskog okvira, već i zbog sveta u kojem se kreće, unutar i oko radio-stanice na farsi jeziku u okolici San Francisca. Stil koji je Jalali izabrao nije toliko smišljeno cool kao onaj kod Amirpour, bliži je našoj konvencionalnoj realnosti, ali daleko od toga da možemo govoriti o nečemu dosadnom ili čak običnom. Naprotiv, ima tu pametnih žanrovskih spojeva (mockumentary, deadpan komedija, socijalna drama), daška apsurda i surealizma u priči sa višestruko lokalnim koloritom i nekoliko univerzalnih poruka.

    Iz opisa radnje se mogu stvoriti očekivanja da je Radio Dreams jedna glasna, čak urnebesna komedija o šašavim umetnicima, šašavim gazdama i hladnim menadžerima, ali Jalali u svom pristupu pokazuje više nežnosti i mudrosti. Paletom zatamnjenih boja on pojačava teskobu skučnih prostora koja korespondira sa teskobom koju u srcu oseća Hamid, emigrant u “fish out of water” situaciji, apatrid koji je u staroj domovini nepoželjan, a nova njegove veštine smatra beskorisnim. Humora tu svakako ima, ima i stava, čak i gega, ali on tu samo baca svetlo na ozbiljne teme emigracije, integracije i naivnog verovanja u “zemlje mogućnosti” u savremenom, atomiziranom i utilitarno ustrojenom svetu.

    U tom smislu, izbor Moshena Namjooa za glavnu ulogu nije nimalo slučajan, reč je o iranskom kantautoru kojeg u domovini porede sa Dylanom. Njegova pojava sa dugom, prosedom i nevešto sapetom kosom potpuno odgovara umetničkom statusu Hamidovog lika, izuzetno je pamtljiva i sjajno simbolizira nesnađenost u “realnom” svetu. Možda mladi afganistanski muzičari zaista veruju u bajke, možda je tako verovao i Hamid, ali sva je prilika da će, ako im se snovi ostvare, završiti otprilike kao i on, izgubljeni u prevodu.

  • ★★★½ review by Aleka on Letterboxd

    Radio Dreams was 2016’s Viennale suprise movie at the summer open air cinema, and not a bad choice. It had an upbeat note to it, but as so many others, was a tad too long. Personally I am really glad I saw it as an absolute suprise, as it is a film that can be too easily spoiled (just by looking at the cast to be exact). It’s about an Afghan band (their first rock band so to say) being flown into California for a special at an Iranian radio station, but actually focusing on the station’s producer – an Iranian writer, i.e. the driving force of the station. I found it highly interesting, but some elements/stories within the story were stretched out too much.

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