The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam — Movie Review

The Keeper photophoto courtesy Arrival Pictures

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.

The Keeper poster
The Keeper:
The Legend of
Omar Khayyam

(Arrival Pictures)
Rated: NR
starstarstar (out of 4)
Official Site

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’s oral tradition alive in America. A secondary drama unfolds around the story as Kamran’s 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’s 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’s much-lauded poetry, but rather on the poetry that was his life.


Starts this Friday at E Street Cinemas.
STARRING: Vanessa Redgrave, Moritz Bleibtreu, Rade Serbedzija, Bruno Lastra, Christopher Simpson, Adam Echahly, and Marie Espinosa
GENRE(S): Adventure, Drama, Family/Kids
WRITTEN BY: Belle Avery, Kayvan Mashayekh
DIRECTED BY: Kayvan Mashayekh
RELEASE DATE: Theatrical: June 10, 2005
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes, Color


  1. I am writing this message to the writer and director of the Omar -khayam story through which this movie has been produced.
    Let me say that I profoundly regreted as an iranian who watched this movie and I strongly believe that the producers of this movie has difinitely no clue and accurate information about Iran of today and past.
    I realy do not understand why these people insist to produce this movie while the can not even understand who today’s iran look like and they show Iran of today exactly like omar khayam’s time.
    At the end I see it necessary to say that this movie is really disgusting and I think that i has not only devestated the Iran’s developement and its values but also It has not show the reality of omare khayam’s values and importance in Iran history.

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