A meditation on the immigrant experience and the feelings of loneliness and isolation that can come with it, Babak Jalali’s deadpan, melancholic comedy Radio Dreams follows the course of a bumpy day at PARS-FM, a Farsi radio station located in San Francisco. (Don’t try to tune in just yet, though.) Station manager Mr. Royani (Mohsen Namjoo) has arranged for Afghanistan’s first rock band, Kabul Dreams, to play an in-studio jam session with Metallica. While waiting for Lars Ulrich and the boys to make it through, um, the Never, Royani struggles with the station owner’s daughter Maral’s (Boshra Dastournezhad) attempts to make PARS more commercial and upbeat.
Royani tries to keep it focused on the local Iranian community’s songs and stories. One of the more touching of those stories finds poetry in the fact that you’re never more than 20 minutes from water in this town. (Hunh.) Speaking of this town, although the distributor’s description of Radio Dreams as creating “the bizarre yet very real world of PARS-FM” implies that the station’s a real thing, it does not exist, and the official website further clarifies how, within the film’s universe, it’s a satellite radio station. That figures, since the dream of having a local, terrestrial radio station as interesting as PARS-FM has long since vanished.
Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.