The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it
That is likely the most famous verse of The Rubaiyat, a collection of poems by the Persian mathematician and astronomer Omar Khayyam. Khayyam is most famous in America for his poetry, whereas in Iran he is equally noted for his scholarly achievements, such as his famous correction of the Persian calendar. The new film biography opening this week at E Street Cinema combines these angles beautifully to paint a whole portrait of Omar Khayyam, the man and the myth.
Biography may not be the best way to classify The Keeper. In fact it is a story, about stories and their telling, which adds freely to the scant body of knowledge about Khayyam’s personal life. Rather than maintaining strict historical accuracy, The Keeper flashes back and forth between ancient Persia and modern-day America, framing Khayyam‚Äôs life story as it is understood by a young boy.
12-year old Kamran is fascinated by tales of his ancestor Omar Khayyam, and it becomes his duty to keep the family‚Äôs oral tradition alive in America. A secondary drama unfolds around the story as Kamran‚Äôs father, who feels his family should forget the past and focus on being good Americans, steps in.
Shot in 37 days in 3 different countries, The Keeper was written, produced and directed by newcomer Keyvan Mashayekh, and while unpolished at times, it is simply gorgeous to look at. The romanticized version of Khayyam‚Äôs life is framed perfectly by the drama of the immigrant experience. The heart of the film lies in the connection between both worlds, focusing not on Khayyam‚Äôs much-lauded poetry, but rather on the poetry that was his life.