Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.
Roushan Karam Elmi
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Middle-aged Mr.Badii is planning to commit suicide and desperately seeks anyone to assist him - he has already dug out the grave in the mountains, but the assistant will have to bury him when he will do the deed. He asks Kurd soldier, Afghan seminarian, but everyone refuses by some reason. Finally he finds an old Turkish taxidermist, who has a sick son and previously attempted suicide himself, and he agrees to assist Badii. Written by
This is a little more interesting when you know that most of it was improvised with Kiarostami sitting in the driver's seat talking to the other actors. But like most purely improvised films, there's a rather low ratio of insights to the amount of screen time spent struggling to come up with something interesting. (Actually, only one of the characters really manages to be interesting at all.) Likewise, some of the shots of Mr. Badii driving around aimlessly have a certain Antonioniesque hypnotic effect, but most of them look no more interesting than random video you might have shot yourself in the industrial part of town.
There are critics who call this kind of untouched-by-art realism genius, who say that Kiarostami is making us think, reconsider the very nature of cinema, and so on. To my mind, the message of the film-- the taste of cherry makes life worth living-- is no more or less profound than, say, Woody Allen rattling off a few of the things that make life worth living in Manhattan, or the epiphany the kid in American Beauty gets from a plastic bag. (Likewise the message that it's all only a movie. Never woulda guessed.) And critics who find such a message shallow in a piece of slick entertainment, but deep when it's in a deliberately unentertaining art film, need to reexamine their critical principles, or lighten up a little-- or at least go see again the work of real art Kiarostami alludes to in his title, Wild Strawberries, which has more depth of characterization and emotional richness in any five minutes than this manages to scrounge up in an hour and a half.
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