All about Baha'i: Mohsen Makhmalbaf's odd father & son documentary, THE GARDENER

The Gardener poster

If a new film called The Gardener isn't one of the weirder hybrid documentaries in quite awhile, I'll be surprised. Paid for, I'd guess, by the Committee to Make the Baha'i Religion a Household Word, this nearly (and oddly) humor-free mockumentary supposedly tracks the adventures of an Iranian father/son team as it visits Israel and the huge and beautiful garden taken care of by a disciple of the Baha'i religion, who is happy -- as are all the other acolytes rounded up by the filmmakers -- to give us a grounding in this unusual religion, which appears determined to keep itself abreast of modernity in a changing world. Amen to that, as too many religions seem content to continue mimicking the dark ages.

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