The film takes place in Winston

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I was not able to get much sleep that night, but what I was able to get was a newly discovered appreciation for the work of young filmmaker Ramin Bahrani. With just three films on his resume, Bahrani has emerged as one of the most talented writer/directors in Independent film today. His previous work is the above-mentioned Man Push Cart and Chop Shop. His latest movie, the powerfully moving Goodbye Solo, has recently been released on DVD and Blu-ray. The critically acclaimed film was hardly seen during it’s limited release in theaters this past year, but thanks to extremely positive reviews and strong word of mouth from the film festival circuit, Goodbye Solo has quickly become one of 2009’s little speed dating 香港  gems.

The film takes place in Winston-Salem, South Carolina and revolves around two men, one very old and one rather young, who unexpectedly become involved in a friendship with each other. Solo is an African native who barely speaks English and pays the bills as a taxi cab driver while secretly dreaming of becoming a flight attendant. One night, he picks up William, a bitter old man who offers Solo money in exchange for a one-way ride to Blowing Rock, SC. Fearing that William intends to commit suicide, Solo attempts to reach out to the elderly man hoping to change his mind. Before either of them knows it, they’re both part of a friendship that only comes around once a lifetime.The storytelling in Goodbye Solo is absolutely fantastic. Like his two films before, Bahrani focuses the story on an immigrant struggling to get by in blue-collar America. But with this film, he has never been able to capture the true reality of it so well. These are believable character in a believable setting caught up in believable scenarios.

The primary reason Bahrani is able to achieve this is the acting he was able to produce from his actors. Souleymane Sy Savane is the newcomer who wonderfully plays Solo and in without a doubt the finest performance in his long distinguished career, Red West plays William. The actor, best known to American audiences for his roles in Road House and Glory Road, absolutely shines in his portrayal of the depressed retiree. I like to think that if this past Academy Awards’ Best Actor in a Supporting Role category wasn’t already filled to the brim with unbelievable performances, Mr. Red West would have been in attendance at the Kodak Theatre that night.Another reason why I enjoyed Goodbye Solo so much was that it was very reminiscent of an Iranian film from 1997 that I absolutely love titled Taste of Cherry (Ta’m e guilass), which was written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Both films have similar premises and both are incredibly moving in their depiction of touchy subjects like suicide and the ability for a human being to leave the world on their own terms. Next time you’re at the video store, treat yourself to two remarkable movies and rent them both.