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|Index||27 reviews in total|
This dear and simple story is the most wonderful film I have seen this year.
The children are non-actors who bring a reality and wonder to this film
that is sadly absent from American films, and you will be left in awe by
The story involves a little boy who must track down his friend to give him a notebook, or his friend may be kicked out of school. All along the way he is blocked from this quest to "do the right thing" but adults who are too stuck on their own silly business to listen to him and offer assistance. Instead of helping this sincere and good child, they do everything imaginable to block him. How very real this situation is, and how refreshing to see adults forced to examine the condescending way they communicate with children. The child Ahmed in this film is a refreshing hero for little boys... so much better than the smart-alleck and spoiled brats offered up in American films. It is a beautiful story, and it is a beautiful experience to sit and take in this magnificent film!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is one of the great works on youth, and Kiarostami wrings out as
many ounces of emotional truth as he can. When a teacher punishes a
student in front of the class and he cries, it has the potential to be
cloying, but it's the more breathy, hiccupping type of crying as
opposed to that doe-eyed variety that usually accompanies children in
tears. The acting, as per usual with Kiarostami, is perfect, not at all
showy or actorly. The film is told from the child's perspective, and we
see how the adults view children as pestering annoyances, and how
adults' duty-oriented simple-mindedness is so often not in tune to the
rigid sense of morality that children sometimes have. The film is like
an examination of children's moral code of righteousness -- the young
hero here needs to return his friends' notebook so he can do his
homework, but his parents fail to understand him and see it as more
important for him to tend to his requirements outside of school.
Meanwhile, his teacher tells the children that their schoolwork should
come first. What is he to do? He's trying to do one right thing (that
would help another) and getting quashed for not doing another right
The film, which is addictively watchable, plays like a thriller in some ways (albeit a slow one): the notebook is its own character, and in jeopardy when another adult wants to write in it. The search for the friends' house (and the darkening of night indicating the loss of time for his friend to do his homework should he find him) is invigorating and thrilling. But more than that, the film has those little moments of pureness that Kiarostami blesses us with: The soft tenderness when one boy rubs water on another's knee after falling down outside; the wonderful images of children wandering in the slum-like houses and not at all worried about our immediate fears like violence or drugs; or the great scene where our hero sneaks away from his mother, who has forbade him from his mission, with the notebook tucked under his vest -- then realizing he's mistaken his own for his friends'. 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WHERE IS MY FRIEND'S HOME is a bittersweet, subtle film about a simple
mix-up. When young Ahmed discovers he has taken his best friend
Nematzedeh's notebook, he's determined to get it back to him, as the young
boy is dangerously close to expulsion and can no longer risk their
wrath. He sets out for his friend's neighboring town only to discover
finding him amongst the winding, steep streets is no easy
In line with Kiarostami's body of work, he never feels the need to spell out plot points, characters' feelings, or the atmosphere of a scene through heavy dialogue. For example, the moment when Ahmed realizes he has Nematzedeh's notebook, we only see him remove his notebook...and then a second identical one. His shock is enough, we don't need to HEAR it's his friend's notebook. We can see it register on his face immediately. Also characteristic of his style, WIMFH pays special attention to the feelings of children, and the injustice of the adult world. And as usual, Kiarostami pulls a wonderful, naturalistic performances from all his child actors.
The L.A. County Museum of Art is currently holding a retrospective of Kiarostami's work, and this film by far is one of my favorites of his work. The quiet climax of this film is so simple and joyous that there was an audible gasp in the theater, a gasp of refreshing delight. Kiarostami may be hard going for the average movie fan, but I believe the rewards of a film like this are too great to pass this by for cinefiles of foreign film.
Actually it's hard to find any more words to define this masterpiece than the ones in the title of this review. If you are looking for something that would make you feel like you're reading a classic short story rather than watching a film, then this one is right that film. When you watch a film you have the vision, the sound, the effects, the music; almost nothing's left to your imagination and you watch the film effortlessly. Eventually, the story is misted over. On the other hand, in Khane-ye doust kodjast?, Kiarostami with his fascinating simplicity, takes you deep into a world of childish innocence. Everything from acting to cameras, is full of that precious amateur feeling. You actually feel amazed when you see how well Kiarostami managed to get such natural acting from a cast of all non-professional actors. Each character, each scene is tailored with Kiarostami's masterful observations. The film is so purely simple that, for a second, I even wished we didn't even have the music that plays only in two scenes, though I loved it. I personally believe, it really is a piece of art than a film.
I'm sorry I've seen this movie doubled in Spanish and not subtitled in Portuguese but, even so, I found it lovely. It is all about how children live in the adult's world and how they perceive and deal with them. It is also about how children can understand each other and help each other to survive the power and rules of adults. It is filmed very closely to the children which means we see the adults, houses, streets and landscapes from their point of view. The story is very well written, playing very wisely with our expectations. It is an almost timeless and universal story but the where and when it happens is brilliant.
I saw this movie when I was 15 and really enjoyed it at that time because I could find myself instead of the boy playing in the movie. I was older than him, but I felt there was something, let's say, close connection between us. That was the best movie I had ever seen. I learned many things about life and the world around me. Everyone could see simplicity and honesty in his eyes. After 10 years I saw the movie again when I was around 25; and the interesting thing was that I had the same feeling! I didn't know why? But when I look at that precisely I think the story of our life is so simple: When you do good, you feel good and when you do bad you feel bad! Kiarostami visualizes the whole story simply and memorably, it doesn't matter at what age you are watching the movie, just you can feel it, touch it and live it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ahmad's classmate has a bad rapport with teacher because he doesn't
finish his homework and is given a 'last' warning. Ahmad by mistake
take his notebook home as their notebooks look the same. Ahmad must
return the notebook but unfortunately his friend lives a little far and
he doesn't know his exact address.
It's a masterpiece. There is no doubt that the only other film, based on the psychology of children, which can be compared with this great film is 'Chilren of heaven'. Feel of the film is 'Bicycle thief' like which was again the main source behind 'Pather Panchali'. Story is very simple but it's amazingly complex. Its about the morality children have which elders are too grown up to own. While Ahmad has such compassion and concern for his friend, for rest of the world it's not even an issue. Ahmad gives a helping hand to his mother at home and so he has to really sneak out. Small details like Ahmad know his friend's father's occupation and so he tries to find people of that profession. In one scene he asks a lady if she knew about his friend and that lady asks him to stop for a while and comes down from her house and asks Ahmad to help him in some very weird work I don't remember. It's brilliant. Film is not made with a documentary touch; it's made with a fantastic film touch. It gives a fantastic view of roads and people in Iran. My favorite scene is when an elder uses the notebook for some scribbling and Ahmad watches it helplessly and disapprovingly. Classroom scenes are marvelous.
Acting wise it's unbelievable how an 8 years old boy has done such a terrific job. Abbas Kiarostami is definitely one of the top 5 directors of our times.10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you ever feel like you've lost track of what's truly important in life,
then don't miss Abbas Kiarostami's film, Where is the Friend's House.
mistakenly taking his friend's notebook, Ahmadpoor is torn between
to his parents and a need to help his friend Nematzadeh. Faced with the
difficult choice of either disobeying his mother and returning his
notebook in the Iranian village of Poshteh over the hill, or staying at
and taking the chance that his friend will be expelled from school, Ahmad
takes advantage of the situation when his mother sends him out to buy
for dinner and sets out for Poshteh.
Unfortunately, Ahmad does not know where his friend's house is. Following Ahmad through a series of disappointments and near misses, the viewer is drawn into the desperate search for Nematzadeh or anyone who knows him. Finally, Ahmad is befriended by an old door maker who agrees to take him to Nematzadeh's house. While this part of the film does drag, with the door maker walking slowly and talking constantly about different doors and windows he has made, it is a price worth paying, and almost succeeds in making the viewer feel like he or she is in Ahmad's shoes, being forced to plod along slowly behind an old man. By far the most disappointing part of this film for the viewer is that the journey with the old man lacks a payoff, and Ahmad returns to his own village having not found his friend. Determined to make sure his friend is not punished for a mistake he made, Ahmad stays up late into the night writing not only his own homework, but Nematzadeh's as well. While this film has some slow points and may leave some viewers feeling like the payoff was only marginal, the message is sincere and it shows that sometimes there are more important things in life than doing what you're told.
This was my first Kiarostami's movie. There could not be a better one.
Some trademarks of his movies are minimal dialogs, slow pace,
purposeful and realistic acting. Many conversations happen during the
ride on a car moving at gentle speed. A stark contrast of what we are
used to. Yet, his movies touch you right in the heart. You get very
involved with the characters. His movies never get overtly sentimental.
He remarked in an interview that he doesn't like to cheat with the
"Where is the Friend's Home?" offers an insight into the simplistic and innocent world of childhood. Adults do not really see and appreciate that world. Watching this movie is a completely different experience. And writing a lot about this movie does not make a lot of sense. You can hardly wait to watch "And Life Goes on".
A must watch if you are into the art of beautiful cinema.
Mohamed Reda Nematzadeth has been told off three times already for not
doing his homework in the book provided, next time he fails to do it in
the book he will be expelled. So whenever his classmate Ahmed gets home
and finds that Mohamed's book is in his bag. Knowing that it will be
his fault that his friend gets into trouble, he tries to get his mother
to help him return it but, when she refuses, he sneaks out of the house
knowing only that Mohamed lives in an area several miles away across
the hills. Getting to the area turns out to be the easy part as,
regardless of who he asks, few are able or willing to help him find the
house of his friend.
It is perhaps fitting (and pointless) that Channel 4 in the UK chose to broadcast a short season of films from Iran; after all, Iran is being talked about in the same way as Iraq was a year before we went to war with them, so it looks like some form of action may be taken against Iran a country that few people really know a great deal about. I don't think that watching a few films from a country will teach you all you need to know about it, but it is a start I suppose and kudos to Channel 4 for giving up so much time (albeit late night) to screen 2-3 films a night for a week. This was the first in the mini-season and it presents a disarmingly simple story to provide an insight into life in a semi-rural area of Iran although it is certainly too slow, uneventful and layered to really learn a great deal from. For starters the plot is simple and does as little as my plot summary suggests it does; viewers reared on "bang a minute" action films will certainly not be impressed by the pace, the delivery or the conclusion. I enjoyed it but even I must admit that the running time did have a certain about of slack in it that could have been taken in a bit without losing too much.
The actual story is just a frame to see aspects of life in Iran behaviour, environment, habits and conditions; to the unfamiliar (such as myself) this will provide distraction easily enough as it is interesting in what it does, although I suspect that more was lost on me than I realised. I got the impression that the story was a metaphor for Iran and that the themes of doing the right thing, being distracted by individual minor squabbles, giving for others etc were all set within a national context that I failed to understand, perhaps a little help for the uninitiated would have been useful in the shape of text explaining the country up front? Regardless, this is my loss and the film owes me nothing; I still felt that the theme that really Ahmed's ongoing thoughtfulness and friendship was more useful than just finding the boy's house worked not easily reached perhaps but it is there.
The performances are all convincingly natural and the camera could easily not have been there. Babek Ahmed Poor's Ahmed naturally steals the film and, although he doesn't show a great range he is as natural and as likable as the film required him to be you forget he is acting and this could easily be fly-on-the-wall stuff. Likewise, the support cast all come off the same albeit with less screen time they provide an interesting view of the country and fill out the story with colour.
Overall then, not the film to watch if you are itching for the US to attack Iran, nor if you prefer more action and less talk; but it is an interesting and worthwhile film nonetheless. Despite feeling that some of it was lost on me, I still enjoyed the central theme of friendship and the tour around some aspects of Iranian life while it greatly benefited from a very natural delivery from all sides of the camera.
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