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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in Movies
The White Balloon (1995)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
The White Balloon The White Balloon The White Balloon
The White Balloon The White Balloon The White Balloon
The White Balloon The White Balloon The White Balloon
This is an Iranian movie directed by one of Iran's most respected filmmakers, Jafar Panahi, who imprisoned and banned from making movies for 20 years in 2010 by the Iranian government, which caused an international outcry. It was co-written by Abbas Kiarostami, another internationally renowned Iranian director.

The very simple but compelling story revolves around a 7 year-old girl, Razieh, who lives in Tehran and who whines about buying a special expensive goldfish for the New Year celebration until her mother can't stand it anymore and gives her brother the money to buy a fish. Before he can go get the fish, Razieh grabs the money and runs off to buy the fish herself. On her way to the fish store she passes a crowd of people watching two snake charmers. She has been forbidden to watch them, but with the 500 toman bill easy to see in her fishbowl, she decides to push her way to the center of the crowd to take a look. The snake charmers try to encourage the crowd to give them money by telling them that it's the only way to see a special snake come out of its box. The snake will only come out when it sees money. One of the snake charmers takes advantage of Razieh by taking the bill out of her bowl and telling everybody she gave it to them to see the snake. She cries and asks for her money back, so they tease her by rolling the bill up so the snake crawls through it, then telling her she has to come get the money herself. Razieh, of course, is terrified of the snake and the men, and she cries, something even unscrupulous snake charmers can't resist. After lots of phony complaining about giving her the money back, they finally tell her there was nothing to worry about because the snake has no teeth and they give her back the bill. Razieh runs off and immediately loses the bill and the rest of the movie involves her trying to retrieve it from a storm grate once she finds it, and with the people she interacts with in doing so.

There is a cobra in one of the snake boxes, and a large pale viper, probably a horned viper, which the snake charmers mention bringing out in their pitch to the crowd during a scene when we only hear them and don't see any snakes. I don't know what kind of snake crawled through the rolled bill, but it is most likely a non-venomous species.