Thursday, 3 July 2008


In tuesday's film Charulata, what begins as a seemingly straightforward character study quickly develops into a scathing critique of the social hypocrisies of the Bengali Renaissance. Charu becomes representative of a generation of women, encouraged to experience a sense of liberty and independence, but only within the andarmahal (inner sanctum of the house).

Today's film is different from Charulata, read on.

Abbas Kiarostami


103 mins.

The film tells a story of Hossein, a poor man who acts in a film as  the husband of Tahereh,
a woman who in real life
he has been pursuing without success.

By defining the role of cinema as a chronicle of real life, Kiarostami takes on the role of documenter rather than director. In depicting the everyday lives of ordinary people through mundane conversations and unremarkable actions, he attempts to capture the essence of the human soul in a way that is honest and contemplative. But in the process of conveying life in real-time, his films can also test one's patience. In Through the Olive Trees, the director shuts off the camera, only to find that the lives of his actors are far more fascinating off-camera than the characters that they portray on camera. To accelerate this revelation, that is, to cull out the personal observations of the director for the sake of brevity, is to deny human experience. To trivialize its message is to comment on our own insignificance. Should the camera only be used as an instrument of entertainment? Is the wonder of life only worth capturing when there is an audience?

The final scene of Through the Olive Trees is a hypnotic reflection of the passage of real time, and we are reminded that we have witnessed one mere episode, one fleeting glimpse, of a wondrous phenomenon called life.

About the Director

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career as a filmmaker at the age of 30.

He is the most influential and controversial post-revolutionary Iranian filmmaker and one of the most highly celebrated directors in the international film community of the last decade. Kiarostami's films contain a notable degree of ambiguity, an unusual mixture of simplicity and complexity, and often a mix of fictional and documentary elements. He has consistently attempted to by lowering its full definition and forcing the increased involvement of the audience. This he normally achieves with his style which is notable for the use of panoramic long shots where the audience is intentionally distanced physically from the characters in order to make them reflect on their fate.

poster--> Vidit Narang

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