“Thursday Appointment”

“Thursday Appointment” January 2, 2020

 

UMich campus
On the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where William Hamblin received his doctorate
(Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)

 

I apparently should have given them a title, but I didn’t.  So we ended up with this rather unwieldy thing:

 

“Remembering co-author Bill Hamblin’s pursuit of sharing about the world’s religions”

 

I’m pleased, though, that the online version of the article includes a baker’s dozen of the photographs that Bill furnished for prior columns.  They were often very valuable.

 

This is one of the respects in which my solo continuation of the Hamblin/Peterson column will be relatively impoverished:  I’m simply not a photographer.  Many years ago, I went down into the jungle of lowland Guatemala, in the Petén Basin, to accompany supplies that the Maxwell Institute had been asked to provide for a BYU-involved archaeological dig that was going on at Piedras Negras.  Among other preparations for the trip, including seeming gallons of insect repellant that proved to be remarkably ineffective, my wife furnished me with a new camera and many rolls of film.  (It was, as I say, a very long time ago.)  She told me to be sure of taking many photos.  In the end, I came back with three — and, each time I took one, it was because I suddenly remembered my wife’s exhortation and thought to myself about how displeased she would be with me if I were to return without any pictures.

 

Bill should have been on that trip.  He would have done it justice.  And not only in terms of photography.

 

I miss him.  I expect that I always will.

 

***

 

I share with you a very short but quite touching Iranian film — roughly 2.5 minutes in length and entitled Qarar-e Panjshanbe (Thursday Appointment) — that evidently won a recent award at an international film festival in Luxor, Egypt.  It is the work of a twenty-year-old Iranian filmmaker by the name of Syed Mohammad Reza Kheradmand:

 

 

For those of you who may not understand Persian (aka Farsi) — there are likely one or two of you out there, and my own Persian is long rusty with little use —  the older couple are playing a Persian poetry game.  In it, each person has to recite a poem or a line of a poem that starts with the last letter of the previous person’s quotation.  (The YouTube version is evidently missing an important couple of seconds at the beginning in which the woman asks her husband, “Give me one that starts with the letter ‘a’.”  He obliges.)  The piece recited in the film is a fourteenth-century love poem by the great Persian writer Hafez.  It can be applied not just to romantic love for an individual but to the love of humanity more generally.  And it can also be interpreted to suggest the importance of being kind to the living before we or they depart this life.

 

Unfortunately, the poem is translated quite literally and not very well, so it likely won’t help you much.  But there are one or two translated comments in the subtitles that will help to orient you, though they aren’t absolutely necessary for understanding the film’s basic point.

 

One quite minor and pedantic remark:  Note how slowly and distinctly the couple recite Hafez’s poem.  In my (very limited) experience with it, the Persian rhetorical/oratorical style is a language-learner’s dream:  Very clear and very deliberate.

 

And one other note:  Excellent films have been coming out of Iran for years now.

 

 


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