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GOODBYE SOLO

Director: RAMIN BAHRANI

U.S.A. • 2008 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 91 MIN


THIS INTIMATE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP AND ITS LIMITS PROVIDES AN AFFECTING INTRODUCTION TO AMERICAN FILMMAKER RAMIN BAHRANI, WHO’S FAST BUILDING A REPUTATION AS A CINEMATIC MASTER IN THE MAKING.

Esteemed U.S. critic Roger Ebert has described him as ‘the great new American director’, and this story of a North Carolina cabbie befriending an elderly passenger seemingly unable to bear his burden of loneliness and regret is a perfect illustration of how Bahrani’s particular working methods deliver truly piercing human insight. Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane) is a Senegalese immigrant working long hours for a Winston-Salem taxi firm, but when William (Red West), an old gentleman he takes to the cinema as a regular fare, offers a large amount of cash to drive him to a famed mountain-top beauty spot, he can’t help but get involved. Suspecting that he’s about to get embroiled in a suicide attempt, Solo starts spending time with the old guy, hoping that brightening his life will somehow make a difference.

Leading actor Savane isn’t a professional, but he spent several months actually driving a cab in Winston-Salem to grow into the part, while the role of William is filled by one Red West, who was once Elvis’s bodyguard, and whose careworn features suggest a man wondering what use he might have for the present, or indeed the future. These performers go beyond acting into being, and Bahrani’s classically disciplined camera is there to observe, watching how destiny shapes for them a touching, profound parable of the urgency of compassion and the necessity of acceptance. This is one of the year’s best films. — Trevor Johnston.

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