Hamsarayan (The Chorus), made in 1982, 17 minutes long. It calls in mind all later movies of Kiarostami, and that is because you'll find here some of those cinematic ideas defining what makes him unique.
What's the point in Hamsarayan? That's difficult to grasp, because, like all Kiarostami's works, this movie is simple and complex in the same time. The plot evolves completely by random, changing course each time a new situation is captured. At the beginning of the story Kiarostami seems even to not know the main character. An old man appears suddenly and the focus passes on him. He's walking through a market examining all kind of stuff, and taking out from his ear the hearing device every now and then. Will the focus move to that noisy guy praising his goods? No, Kiarostami stays the course with the old guy, making him to take out again his hearing device. And the story goes on, the little girls shouting, while the old man is drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, etc. What's the point? I think the point is that the plot is deceptive. Actually there is no plot. Kiarostami follows a daily chain of random events with random personages, looking for the meaning, considering that each fact of life should have a meaning. And inviting us to follow the chain of images and to discover their meaning together with him.
This is in all his movies, from his early ones (like this Hamsarayan), up to Ten, and then to Five, where the plot is radically thrown away. Each of his movies is just that: a journey, where facts and personages appear on their own will. A journey Kiarostami makes to encounter facts and personages, and to discover meaning. And we, spectators, are invited to participate to the effort of discovery. The director gives total freedom to the facts and personages, he gives also freedom to us, in our own search for meaning.
Well, we can also find here, in Hamsarayan, an idea that Kiarostami develops in his 10 on Ten: the rapport between sound and image; and possibly many other ideas.
But you will ask me what's the meaning discovered in this movie? It's the smile of the grandpa in the last image!
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