Films & Schedules

  • Goodbye Solo

  • Ramin Bahrani

91 minutes

Production Company:
Gigantic Pictures/Noruz Films/Lucky Hat Entertainment/The Independent Television Service
Executive Producer:
Brian Devine, Brooke Devine
Jason Orans, Ramin Bahrani
Bahareh Azimi, Ramin Bahrani
Production Designer:
Chad Keith
Michael Simmonds
Ramin Bahrani
Tom Efinger
M. Lo
Principal Cast: Souléymane Sy Savané, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo

International Sales Agent:
Memento Films International

Saturday September 0603:15PM AMC 7 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0809:15PM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1107:45PM VARSITY 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Even within the ever-percolating, idiosyncratic world of American independent cinema, director Ramin Bahrani stands out. The young director's new film, Goodbye Solo, is much like his previous highly lauded features Man Push Cart and last year's Chop Shop, using perfectly cast actors and concentrating the action in a specific geographical place. However, Goodbye Solo also exhibits an artistic growth and thematic maturation that provides an unusually rewarding experience for the viewer.

Followers of Bahrani's work know that he immerses us into the lives of his characters with little ceremony, and Goodbye Solo is no different. In the first moment of the film, we find ourselves inside a cab driven by Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané), a Senegalese taxi driver living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His passenger is seventy-year-old William (Red West), who books Solo to pick him up again two weeks hence for a long drive to a faraway mountaintop. Over the course of their negotiation, Solo comes to understand that William has a tragic plan for the end of his trip, and decides to befriend the man and dissuade him from his goal.

Solo is one of the most remarkable characters in recent cinema. He is good through and through, and lacks the North American self-consciousness about relationships. He believes that everyone should live their lives engaged and concerned with one another. This “it takes a village” approach is anathema to William, who harbours pain, secrets and a desire for privacy that keeps him at odds with Solo.

Due to the freshness, candour and unselfconciousness of the dialogue, it is hard to believe that Goodbye Solo followed a script. Much credit should be given to co-writers Bahrani and Bahareh Azimi for the creation of a story that is so graciously nuanced and complex. As William, West (best known as part of Elvis Presley's Memphis Mafia) asks little of us but to witness, and as Solo, Savané shows us shadow, light, love and manhood with a natural charisma that fills the screen. With the aid of these extraordinary performances, Bahrani succeeds in his ultimate goal; delving deeply into the lives of his characters, he shows us ourselves.

Jane Schoettle

Ramin Bahrani was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and studied film at Columbia University in New York City. His feature films are Man Push Cart (05), Chop Shop (07), for which he won the Someone to Watch Award at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards, and Goodbye Solo (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award