5 user 3 critic

Still Life (1974)

Tabiate bijan (original title)
For more than three decades, aging Iranian Mohamad Sardari (Zadour Bonyadi) has worked as a crossing guard at a desolate train station. Through the years, Mohamad has done little to stifle ... See full summary »
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A small schoolboy lives an austere life with his family in Northern coasts of Iran.

Director: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Stars: Hibibollah Safarian, Mohammed Zamani
The Runner (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Amiro is a young boy who has lost his home during the war. He spends his days by working odd jobs, until he realizes that the only way that he can realize his dreams is by enrolling in ... See full summary »

Director: Amir Naderi
Stars: Abbas Nazeri, Madjid Niroumand, Musa Torkizadeh
Far from Home (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

This drama explores the grim lives of Turkish "guest workers" living in Germany.

Director: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Stars: Parviz Sayyad, Cihan Anasai, Muhammet Temizkan
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness", of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

Director: Forugh Farrokhzad
Stars: Forugh Farrokhzad, Ebrahim Golestan, Hossein Mansouri
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Hashem (Zakariya Hashemi) is a cab driver who finds an infant child in the back seat of his cab one night after he gives a ride to a young woman. He and his girlfriend, Taji (Taji Ahmadi), ... See full summary »

Director: Ebrahim Golestan
Stars: Taji Ahmadi, Zackaria Hashemi, Goli Bozorgmehr
The Cow (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An old villager deeply in love with his cow goes to the capital for a while. While he's there, the cow dies and now the villagers are afraid of his possible reaction to it when he returns.

Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Stars: Ezzatolah Entezami, Mahin Shahabi, Ali Nassirian
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Lost and left behind in a foreign country after running away, a little boy whose family have been killed during the war is saved and trained by a middle-aged woman.

Director: Bahram Beizai
Stars: Susan Taslimi, Parviz Poorhosseini, Adnan Afravian
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The daily hard life of a kid working in a photo shop, and tries to get closer to the girl he like.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Hossein Yarmohammadi, Andre Govalovish, Parviz Naderi
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Khaje Majed informs the authorities about Captain Khorshid smuggling with his ship. The authorities take the smuggling and burn it. Farhan is a new arriver in the port. He wants to smuggle ... See full summary »

Director: Naser Taghvai
Stars: Dariush Arjmand, Ali Nassirian, Saeed Poursamimi
The Pear Tree (1998)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Esteemed writer Mahmoud suffers from writers block. While trying to work at the family estate, concerns about an unproductive pear tree trigger in him memories of his childhood love for beautiful tomboy "M".

Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Stars: Homayoun Ershadi, Golshifteh Farahani, Mohammad Reza Shaban-Noori
The Traveler (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A grade-school-age boy, neglected by his parents, lies, cheats, and steals to accumulate enough money to afford a bus ride to a large city and a ticket to see his favorite soccer team play.

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Stars: Hassan Darabi, Masud Zandbegleh, Mostafa Tari
Utopia (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A treatise on love and desire tainted by harsh reality of capitalism, in which submission to the laws of lust-as-commerce is played out by five prostitutes and their pimp, who pits them ... See full summary »

Director: Sohrab Shahid Saless
Stars: Manfred Zapatka, Imke Barnstedt, Gundula Petrovska


Credited cast:
Zadour Bonyadi ...
Mohamad Sardari
Mohammed Kani
Hibibollah Safarian
Habib Safaryan
Zahra Yazdani


For more than three decades, aging Iranian Mohamad Sardari (Zadour Bonyadi) has worked as a crossing guard at a desolate train station. Through the years, Mohamad has done little to stifle the loneliness and boredom inherent in the job. Meanwhile, back at his family home, life is similarly uneventful: Mohamad's wife passes the time sewing night and day, especially since the couple's son left to join the army. As time passes, Mohamad mechanically continues to do his duty.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:



Release Date:

7 December 1978 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Csendes élet  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Only Image Remains (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Bleakly memorable film that provides food for thought on the purpose and direction of life
23 May 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Mohamad Sardari has served for over thirty years in his remote railway crossing station. Dutifully he has lowered and raised the crossing guard each time a train has come by. In his small home his wife sits and makes rugs from sunrise to sunset; his son has long since left to join the military. With minimal contact with the outside world, Mohamad has long since settled into his quiet, uneventful life – a life that he sees no reason should ever change, nor does he desire it to do so.

Whether or not this is the brilliant film that many viewers proclaim it to be is a thing I'm unsure of but, regardless of that praise, it is certainly a memorable one that achieves a very strong sense of the remoteness and ultimate pointlessness of some lives. If you haven't already guessed yet, this is not a cheerful feel-good movie to take that girl who keeps smiling at you to for your first date. Instead this is a slow, patient film that has long periods of nothingness punctuated by sudden moments of, well, comparative inactivity. Despite this though it manages to be surprisingly engaging because it is well observed and interesting – that sounds contradictory but you need to see the film to understand it.

The railway line stands as Mohamad's thin connection to a life that he has never explored – one of other people, experiences and interaction; his life is empty and isolated and it is easy to relate to that sort of existence. Perhaps not physically (few of us have that amount of space or silence), or even in terms of diary entries (many of us can easily keep busy) but perhaps in terms of emotion. As Mohamad empties the only home he has known for decades, you do have to wonder what the point of it all was – a thought that stayed with me as I drove to work the next day, a job I enjoy but ultimately doesn't define "me" or my meaning any more than the reviews I write here, the way I spend my weekends or anything other one thing that is fleeting in the longer term. It is not really depressing because, for all its emptiness it is thought provoking and interesting. The character of Mohamad is hard to relate to but his sense of loss at times is tangible and it was easy to go along with him to the point where I was engaged in his story. Bonyadi's performance is one of understatement, patience and understanding. Saless' direction is impressive, setting the empty tone well but also providing plenty of lingering interesting shots that add to the memorable quality of the whole film.

Well worth seeing, although you should be aware of how far removed it is from the MTV-edited, action movies that are served up as an increasingly large portion of our cinematic diet (in terms of what is on offer at multiplexes – more screens, less choice). It is a bleak and empty film that has remoteness and isolation running all through it; it engaged my interest and brain equally and I imagine it will stay with me for quite some time to come.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: