Harmonica (Saz Dahani / ساز دهنی) (1973)

  • June 22, 2024 | 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre


  • 22/6 HARMONICA - General$10.00
  • 22/6 HARMONICA - Concession$9.00
  • 22/6 HARMONICA - Explorer$8.50
  • 22/6 HARMONICA - Supporter$8.00
  • 22/6 HARMONICA - FriendFree
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Original Title: Saz Dahani / ساز دهنی
Year: 1973
Director: Amir Naderi
Runtime: 76 min
Country: Iran
Language: Persian with English subtitles
Rating: PG


Set against the backdrop of a coastal village in Iran, this 70s classic tells the poignant story of a young boy whose life changes dramatically when he receives a harmonica as a gift from abroad. As his friends grow mesmerised and envious, he becomes the de facto leader of the pack, as they compete for the privilege of holding the harmonica or even blowing a few notes. Amiru is one of the many enthralled by the unfamiliar and bewitching sound, becoming deeply fascinated by this silver, gleaming and foreign object. It seems like he would do anything for his friend to blow a few notes out of the harmonica. However, this game of pleasing and competing takes an unexpected turn with the village dynamics becoming more complex. 

Naderi’s Harmonica is one of his finest films made before the Iranian Revolution, which sets the tone and style for his later works. The film is a political allegory about exploitation represented through the infatuation of a desired object, embodied by the vampiric thirst for modernity. Naderi captures the imagery of his hometown with refined cinematography, experimenting with impressionist painting techniques to create the sun-kissed atmosphere of his childhood, enhanced through a brilliant 4K restoration by Roashana Laboratory.

Director’s Statement

In making Harmonica, I found my true path. It grew from the depths of my own childhood which led to making my other films Waiting and The Runner. Together, they became my childhood trilogy. I owe this trilogy to inspirations from The 400 Blows, The Apu Trilogy, De Sica’s films, and Bunuel’s Los Olvidados that gave me the courage to find my own voice. I made Harmonica in the South of Iran where I grew up.

Working with children who have never seen a camera before, with the colors of the South, and experimenting with impressionist painting styles to create the atmosphere of my childhood, was such an enjoyable experience.

For other screenings of Harmonica, please click here.

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Important Notice:
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