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With: Mohsen Namjoo, Sulyman Qardash, Siddique Ahmed, Raby Adib, Boshra Dastournezhad, Bella Warda, Mahmood Schricker, Keyumars Hakim, Ali Tahbaz, Koroush Mehyar, Mohammad Talani, Lars Ulrich, Kyle Kernan, Larry Laverty, Litz Plummer
Written by: Babak Jalali, Aida Ahadiany
Directed by: Babak Jalali
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Persian, English, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Dari, with English subtitles
Running Time: 93
Date: 05/19/2017
IMDB

Radio Dreams (2017)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Airwave Length

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Set in a Persian-language radio station in San Francisco, this deadpan, existential comedy may be a bit too deadpan and existential for most viewers, but a small handful will find it thoughtful and amusing. On this particular day, the real-life Afghanistan rock band Kabul Dreams has arrived in the Bay Area, and are scheduled to do an in-studio jam session with none other than Metallica.

The day is spent largely killing time, arguing over commercials versus content, and waiting for Metallica. The head DJ is Hamid, played by Mohsen Namjoo, who is called the "Iranian Bob Dylan." Here he's a successful author who loves telling long stories and reports on the history of monkeys in space; he argues a lot and has very particular ideas of how he wants things run, even if they don't necessarily translate into listeners. He spends the day preparing for a Russian ballad to be performed, and reluctantly interviewing a local dermatologist and a beauty queen. In one of the more absurd plot threads, a wrestling-obsessed station manager decides to start training one of the interns for the ring.

Overall, the time passes slowly. Director Babak Jalali favors long takes and little camera movement, and there is plenty of space for cozy reflection, as well as for observing the inner workings of this off-beat station. Kabul Dreams briefly gets to play, although I'm not telling whether or not Metallica actually shows up. It opens May 19, 2017 at the Roxie Cinema.

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