The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) Poster

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A moving, life-confirming, and soulful comedy
Galina_movie_fan7 February 2008
It is a very interesting and compelling film that on the surface seems to be one of the most boring ever made. "Wind Will Carry Us" tells the story of Behzad, the documentary director, who travels with his crew from Tehran to the tiny remote village of Siah Dareh where they hope to document an ancient funeral ritual. While there, all they can do is wait for an old lady to die and to hope that it would happen sooner than later. The lady does not seem to hurry to meet her Creator. Nothing much happens with the exception of waiting and repetitions of the same conversations on the cell phone with the constant interruption of calls but the honest and poetic celebration of the world around us shines through every frame of this ode to joy of life. One of my friends, who had recommended the movie to me, suggested that it should not be over- aestheticized and I totally agree. The film's serious political and social metaphors and overtones are undeniable but in its core, it is a moving, life-confirming, and soulful comedy. Watching my first Abbas Kiarastami's movie was a very rewarding experience.
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Beautiful, enigmatic, and haunting masterwork from one of today's leading filmmakers
zetes9 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS. A man (Behzad Dourani) comes to a rural town with his crew to document the bizarre funeral ceremony of the locals. He has heard that an old woman is about three days from death. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the woman keeps getting better, keeping Dourani and his crew stuck there. The person who is funding him pesters him constantly by calling his cell phone. Since he can only get the signal when on the highest point of the area, he must jump in his car and race to the top of a hill. There's a nice strain of black humor running through the movie. Dourani obviously can't kill the woman, but when a young boy tells him about the purpose of some bowls of soup the locals are offering her – if she eats the soup you made, you get your wish – we can almost hear him thinking what his wish would be. The comedy shifts to philosophy in the second half of the picture, where the nature of life and its relationship with death is explored. When on the top of the hill, Dourani kicks a tortoise onto its back and leaves it for dead. After he leaves, we see it rock itself back over onto its feet. Later, he helps save another man's life and then brings the doctor who has shown up to help the dying old woman (the crew had been there for over two weeks at this point). The doctor has a lot of dialogue (`We don't want to let go of this life because we know how beautiful this world is. No one has come back from the other side and proved that it is better there.') which comes dangerously close to the kind of third-act speech which ruined, in my opinion, Kiarostami's previous film, A Taste of Cherry. But perhaps I can accept the doctor's message easier because the director has succeeded in demonstrating just how wonderful the world is. The film is absolutely gorgeous, capturing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Much like my very favorite Kiarostami film, Where Is the Friend's Home?, the culture and people of this isolated area is painted by the director's brush. 10/10.
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A Man In and Out of Time
simuland1 October 2000
A man out of time finds the way back in. And so, too, do we. Films about such big subjects, metaphysical, quasi-metaphysical, or near metaphysical, can't afford to be petty. So this one meanders, lays a loose and light hand on its subject, finds and follows it by a process of mutual discovery, audience and film maker wandering an unknown road, led by faith in a final destination.

Three men journey from Tehran to a tiny remote village for purposes unknown. Contrasts evolve between their urban modernity and the ageless life of the rural village. They're ostensibly there for the funeral of an ancient woman, a stranger, not a relative, who confounds their expectations by not dying. Let's just say, for the sake preserving the mystery, that they're there, in a way, to cheat death, to rob the villagers of a ritual they themselves fail to understand.

By way of first person narration, the film centers on their leader (Behzad Dourani), a man who accepts being called "engineer," but really isn't--or is he? The perspective is doubled: The world of the film narrowly revolves around him at the same time that it doesn't, claustrophobically relating everything to his solitary universe, at the same time that it encompasses the full scope of a world independent of him, thus giving the lie to his limitations, his distortions and blindness. This is narrative executed with great skill, care, and a free imagination.

Forced to wait, idle and deprived of most of his customary modern distractions, his anxiety, emptiness, and his unease surface; this is a man out of time, who resists the present and fights against the future. His one connection to the outside world, a cell phone, requires every time it goes off that he drop whatever he's doing to run to his truck and drive up to a mountain-top cemetery for clear reception, an association of technology with death concurrent with its indifference to and alienation from it, a comical escapade repeated periodically throughout to give the film a rhythm, an intrusive repetitious beat that contrasts with the natural rhythms of the village.

With nothing else to do, he gradually is tugged by and eventually succumbs to the life around him. This is the kind of movie in which a shot is held so a rooster can walk across the frame. We, too, are made to wait. While waiting, stuck in a plotless limbo, all sorts of beautiful and instructive things emerge from an apparently banal reality, if one cares to notice. There is the unassuming visual poetry of the world, the shadows on a wall of a woman hanging clothes, rolling hills of golden grass, and the organic architecture of a village molded into a hillside; and the subtlety of social interactions: the tender trust of a young boy; the engineer's yearning for a pot of milk, which finally leads him into a primeval cave-like cellar alone with a fecund young woman who refuses his money; the casualness of the birth of a neighbor woman's 10th child; the shrewish complaints of a cafe proprietor, which are answered by one her customers with implacable peasant wisdom; and so on, one scene following upon another, small miracles falling into our laps unannounced.

If only this process of poetic inference, metaphor, indirection, and openness were in more widespread use, commonly adapted, thus more fully developed, instead of the literal dry analytic "objectivity" which tyrannizes modern fictions, nails meaning as if to a cross. Here there isn't even a hint of manipulation or exploitation, not a drop of didacticism. Instead, Kiarostami achieves the difficult feat of keeping water in cupped hands. The film teaches us to observe nature by observing nature.
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Sights and sounds of life in calm vivid detail
chaos-rampant21 October 2010
Another user who reviewed the film speaks of a film so full of 'symbolism' that he couldn't grasp. Maybe because it wasn't there? I'm generally not a fan of minimalism but Kiarostami grips me like no one else. I went out to take the trash after watching this and everything around me felt more alive, the nightsky, moon, trees blowing in the wind, I experienced all this in expansive vivid detail like new life was breathed into them. This is what a Kiarostami film does to me. It's about the sights and sounds of a life simple and profound in that simplicity, profound in the stoic sense of an old man sitting down in the same place every day to sip his tea. The wisdom here is not one of tremendous insight into something we didn't know, but a remembrance of something we knew and have forgotten and need to listen as the wind carries it back. Maybe the next world is beautiful muses a country doctor to our protagonist as they cross golden fields of wheat blowing in the wind, but no one has come back to tell us, so the present world is all we have; and how beautiful it is.

Beautiful Persian Zen.

The film is about waiting for something to happen, waiting for the death of an old woman which an engineer from Tehran and two of his associates have come to document; waiting for a narrative. Every now and then the engineer's cell phone rings, he has poor signal so he must rush to his car and drive to a nearby hill to get good signal. On top of the rocky hill there's a man digging a ditch, sight unseen, and the engineer idly chats with him down in his hole. That man digs up a thigh bone that once belonged to someone, the cemetery of the nearby village is on that hill, and throws it up to our curious protagonist. He stores it away in his car, a symbol of life come and gone. In the end he throws it down a creek and we see the old fickle bone flow down the water. All the symbolism in the film speaks for itself. Trees lush green and fields yellow golden with wheat and a hot dusty wind blowing over this.

I have great admiration for the way Kiarostami makes films. He's so open to the filmmaking process, no strings attached, script, rehearsal, staging, all the mechanics subordinate to the real deal. It takes balls to go into this with as little safeguards. A lot of the film seems to have been improvised on the spot, in that small Iranian village, the faces are real, their casual chitchat the casual chitchat of real people. Take him or leave him, not a lot of people can make films the way he does and make them good.
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A mystery film in more ways than one.
the red duchess10 January 2001
'The Wind Will Carry Us' is above all a detective story in its purest form, about the desire to know. This act of enquiry is extended to both the recording gaze of the camera and that something else emanating in the film's figurative language, the prevalance of natural objects that are what they are - trees, bridges, turtles, the wind, the river etc. - but also something else, something beautifully expressed, but only partially glimpsed, in the quotations from scripture and poetry that run through the film, from that gorgeous description at the beginning of trees as being greener than God's dreams, to the closing image of the hurled bone carried by the rapid stream down goat-chomping banks.

Such an image may remind Western viewers of Kubrick or Renoir. This is the large 'problem' with the film; rather, the problem of any viewer confronting any artwork from an alien culture. I was thinking of not even going to 'Wind', in spite of Kiarostami's reputation as THE director of the 1990s, and the fact that I loved 'Close-Up'. Early reviews made it seem dispiritingly forbidding, and who wants to go to a film if you have to read a ten-page article in 'Cineaste' to understand it? This kind of 'praise' is ultimately detrimental to the films - do we really 'get' Mizoguchi, Ray or Paradjanov films in their entirety either?

I won't lie: it's frustrating watching a film full of obviously symbolic moments that I can't grasp because I am culturally ignorant: the last ten minutes especially are baffling in their move to the ritual or abstract. The risk is to transpose Iranian figuration to their Western meanings, and thus dilute them. But, the film, as Kiarostami's are reputed to, unearth the universal through concentration on the culturally specific (although I've always found 'universality' a dubious aim).

Like I say, the film is a detective story, and if we can't solve the figurative, or metaphysical clues (although most of the poems are clear and lovely and resonant), there are other mysteries, both for the viewer and the main character. Who are these disembodied voices we hear but cannot see guiding us through a landscape at once natural, historical, poetic, social and religiously symbolic? Why have they come to this particular village? Why does the hero keep asking about this particular woman, and why does another woman keep ringing him on his borrowed mobile? Who are his shadowy companions?

Our bewilderment is shared by the 'modern' protagonist, who has to negotiate this seemingly medieval landscape with the aid of a guide (there are many fairy tale motifs throughout, from the forking roads and car breaking down, to the man getting trapped in a hole of his own making, reminding us that Iran was one of the fertile stages for the 'Arabian Nights').

This film may mean most to Iranians and pseuds, but will surely be resonant to anyone who's read Beckett, or been simply burdened with humanity - the constant waiting for something inexplicable to happen; the unseen, insistent powers that determine everything; the gallows humour of the only clear signal for a mobile phone being in a cemetary. The amazing thing about Kiarostami's famed (almost Borgesian) formalism and his metaphors is the way they arise so naturally from the realistic environment he's portraying, almost so you'd miss them - you have to look hard for the traces, the lines, the paralells, the repetitions, the angles, the reflections, the complex use of point of view that often seems literally god-like, and is of ambiguous attribution. Above all, it is a funny, engrossing, unsentimental look at people we rarely see on screen.
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... an artful exploration of life. Terrific!
WCS0219 June 2003
This is a beautiful film that celebrates life and culture. It is entirely devoted to the Forough Farrokhzad poem (cited below / I've marked it for stanza; but not for line changes), which serves as it nucleus and core.

[Stanza 1] In my small night, alas, The wind has an appointment with the trees, In my small night there is fear of devastation.

[Stanza 2] Listen. Do you hear the dark wind whispering? I look upon this bliss with alien eyes I am addicted to my sorrow Listen. Do you hear the dark wind whispering?

[Stanza 3] Now something is happening in the night The moon is red and agitated And the roof may cave in at any moment.

[Stanza 4] The clouds have gathered like a bunch of mourners And seem to be waiting for the moment of rain.

[Stanza 5] A moment And after it, nothing. Beyond this window the night trembles And the earth Will no longer turn. Beyond this window an enigma worries for you and for me.

[Stanza 6] Oh you who are so verdant Place your hands like a burning memory in my hands. And leave your lips that are warm with life To the loving caresses of my lips. The wind will carry us away, The wind will carry us away.

Enjoy it with an open and rested mind. The style is minimalist for action and words, and panoramic for scenery. It's an artful exploration of life where the viewer has to glue the pieces together, from city group's arrival and to their take-away from the experience. Details count. Don't miss any of them.
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SPOILERS: Beautiful, poetic movie
relias29 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers

`The Wind Will Carry Us' comes from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. This enigmatic but resonant film takes its title from a modern Iranian poem the main character recites to a peasant girl as she fills a jug of milk for him in a dark cellar. We never see the woman. In fact we never see several principal characters in the story. But story and characters aren't the point here; setting, symbols, and rhythm are. Kiarostami opens with long shots of a jeep winding down a twisty road in the Iranian desert, looking for a village that isn't on any map. We never see anyone except the leader of the group, whom villagers call `the engineer' although he isn't one. The leader encounters a young boy who guides his group to the village, an ochre-colored warren of huts perched on a barren hill. Women climb wooden ladders up and down from one house to another. The place looks as if Kiarostami was inspired by an M.C. Escher print. The village is not beautiful, but each shot captures the eye. Each frame finds a peaceful beauty that contrasts the hurried life of the engineer, a prisoner of his cell phone, with the rhythms of people whose existence hasn't changed much in hundreds of years. We infer his mission is to wait until a 100 year old woman dies. Why? We don't know, but one guess is that he and his crew are supposed to covertly film the funeral ceremony. The problem is that the woman doesn't die while he and his unseen crew remain on watch. We never see the woman either. The movie sets up a dialogue, via its technique, between the engineer's Westernized expectations and the slow friction of village life he comes to expect and even value. The engineer's cell phone is a good example of how recurring patterns in this film amplify its themes. Every time his phone rings he has to drive his jeep to high ground, near the village cemetery, to explain to his unknown caller that the old woman has not died yet.

These interruptions become almost comic, a way of structuring sequences in which little happens from his point of view. On another level, an awful lot has happened. The engineer is working his way into the life of the village through indirections that mirror his initial problem in even finding the place. Kiarostami does not set up a plot in the Western sense. Much remains unexplained, and characters, like the engineer, don't undergo sudden conversions of the kind we are used to in movies. Some critics have likened the film to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot because much is imminent but nothing happens. The comparison is inexact. The director's modernism stems from the visual tension between the push of the engineer -- his needs and deadline -- versus basic realities of people who live close to nature because they have no choice. Yet their lives, imaged in the director's camera, retain a beauty and connection his life cannot hope to attain. Beckett's bleakness exists in a realm apart from Kiarostami's humane vision. Small moments resonate with that vision. In one scene the engineer, frustrated by another phone call, kicks over a tortoise. Flailing on its back, the creature might die. But when the engineer drives away, the camera cuts to the tortoise righting itself and moving on. This would be a throwaway moment in any other film, but here it symbolizes a reality about village life the engineer cannot yet grasp: these people, including the old woman, live; they don't die on cue. A simple insight like this yields a harvest of riches in `The Wind Will Carry Us.'
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Enigmatic, but graceful and fascinating
allyjack20 September 1999
Typically enigmatic Kiarostami film (although one not without some deadpan comedy, and with all the inherent geographic and cultural fascination associated with his work for Western audiences) winds through his previous work and themes, and through the remote Iranian village in which it's set, as gracefully and surely as a river (a somewhat fearsome one, for all its calmness). It's about (apparently) a group of photographers or filmmakers - only one of whom is ever seen directly - awaiting a mysterious ceremony that will follow an ailing old woman's death (actually, I'm not entirely sure of the accuracy of even that broad a synopsis) but although the narrative may be in part a death watch, the film itself is "a subtle personal debate about the value of being alive" (a beautiful one-line summary by Deborah Young of Variety). The film strikes a mystical balance between its parched environment and the signs of the modern world: the process of getting the cell phone to work forms a recurring pattern, warily intertwining with fragments of old poems and evocations of antiquity, mystery and ritual. The ending was, to me, more satisfying than in his last film A Taste Of Cherry, but the film really requires a second viewing: after seeing it just once, you walk away slightly deflated - even indignant - at having largely failed its navigational challenge.
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A great movie by a great director
Red-12522 December 2020
The Iranian film Bad ma ra khahad bord (1999) was shown in the U.S. with the translated title, The Wind Will Carry Us. It was written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami.

Behzad Dorani portray the engineer, who arrives at a remote rural village with a film crew. They're there to film a funeral ceremony, for reasons that are revealed to us slowly and indirectly.

However, the woman who is dying, for whom the funeral is planned, is lingering on. This continues for weeks. The engineer's crew wants to go home, and his editor in Tehran wants him to get the story. (An ongoing joke is the annoying fact that the engineer's cell phone rings in the village, but the phone won't work unless he leaps into his vehicle and drives to higher ground. This happens over and over during the film.)

While everyone is waiting, the engineer meets people, finds a young student who serves as his assistant, and recites poetry. In fact, a central scene is when the engineer recites the romantic poem "The Wind Will Carry Us" to a young woman. The poem was written by Forough Farrokhzad (1934 -1967). Farrokhzad is considered Iran's most revered female poet.

The young woman in the move has attended school for five years. She asks the engineer for how many years Farrokhzad attended school. He gently tells her, "Five years. You don't have to be a scholar to be a great poet."

As is usual for Kiarostami, his camera doesn't always show us the image we expect. We can hear--but never see--his camera crew. That's also true of the dying woman and a man with whom he speaks when he's at the top of the hill using his cell phone. (The man he's talking to is digging a deep ditch, so we can't see him.)

Sometimes the camera leaves the plot completely, to show us something we didn't know we'd see. For example, in his frustration the engineer kicks a turtle. The turtle ends up on its back. We watch the turtle as it tries to right itself, although the engineer has driven away.

I love Kiarostami's work, and I've tried to see every picture he's directed. He is in a class of his own. I think that you either admire his work or don't care for it at all. I admire it. The Wind Will Carry Us has a strong IMDb rating of 7.5. I thought it was even better than that, and rated it 9.
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One of the greatest movies of all time. Period
adipocea17 April 2008
Nothing more to say. Because saying more is spoiling the fantastic delicate texture of this piece of art, of poetry, that stays at the same level with the great poetic cinema of all time. Let's say, nevertheless( because IMDb doesn't allow comments with less than 10 lines), that the beauty of the movie is so great, so relaxing and enriching is visualizing all this gorgeous cinematography that it will make your day. Watch this if you are stressed out, if you have a skin rush, if you feel uneasy. This movie, along with Spring, summer...(Kim Ki Duk) is one of the few movies with therapeutic effect that I know. Iran is such a great country, such a great culture and past they have...A big Bravo!
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Slow-movie lovers
gnostic2116 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There should be a club for slow movie lovers, as there is for slow food lovers; those of us who are too old for our visual comprehension to be shaped by MTV style editing. This is one of those movies. It's a meditation on history - this historical difference between the protagonist (the engineer), who lives in a world defined by contemporary speed, but isn't, because he has to get into his car and travel several miles up-hill every time he gets a cell phone call (very funny I thought) and the ageless, timeless lifestyles of the villagers he's studying. My read is that he's doing an ethnological project, trying to record a ancient ceremony of mourning that involves self-mutilation of mourners to prove their allegiance to the deceased, thus protecting their livelihoods, as a symbol of the power politics of a small in-bred community. As Westerners, for whom most of the world that doesn't include McDonalds and KFC is a great smeary blank, the visuals of the landscape, the golden houses, the rabbit-warren quality of the village, the constant presence of pastoralists, are a revelation, in their beauty, and the ancient forms of human life on earth that they evoke. These are the movies I love; the mystery of their meaning and their reminder of what life was like for thousands of years before MTV/ iPods and the Internet is a crucial part of why.
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If This Is Iran, Why Are They Considered Our Enemy?
jvincent17 August 2007
Beautifully photographed, loaded with all sorts of little things which do much to contribute to the film's overall sense of everything big and small, and ever so slyly filled with humor, Kiarostami has created a great film here about people whom we see and don't see (We never see the "engineer's" crew, the man digging the deep ditch at the cemetery, the the supposedly dying old woman, the girl in the cave milking the cow for the engineer). I know this remote village is not Tehran but I see no false note in Kiarstami's depiction of his own people (He would certainly know better than any of us.) The film crew is from Tehran, and, as personified by the "engineer," neither of these two representatives of Iranian culture are remotely religious fanatics. They're folks like me and you. I'm aware the Mullahs control Iran, and strict adherence to Muslim law is their credo, but we don't feel it from the villagers or film crew. Perhaps, when a country feels the great weight of a mighty army roaming the lands of its next door neighbor, its leaders are forced to take extremist positions. When their leaders hear George W. Bush implying Iran might be next, they may believe a nuclear deterrent is all they have. Bush should watch this film and get some sense of, at least, what a sizable portion of Iran's population is like, and maybe he'll stop the tough talk, though I doubt it.
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Waiting for What?
Vargas26 September 1999
An engineer (Behzad Dourani) travels to a remote Iranian village on an inexplicable assignment that involves his unseen assistants digging holes. The men work near a hill that turns out to be one of the main settings, and even characters, in Cannes Palme d'Or winner Abbas Kiarostami's new movie, "The Wind Will Carry Us."

Throughout the picture, the perpetually befuddled engineer drives up to the breezy incline to receive cell phone calls that don't come through clearly in the village below. Do the calls concern an old woman who's dying? A search for buried treasure? The exhumation of dead bodies? We never hear the other end of the conversations, so we never find out.

The modern hero's jeep and cell-phone dominated life seems empty of purpose, other than the impulses and sensory input of the moment. The lives of the traditional villagers don't seem any more meaningful. Kiarostami's picture is no ethnographic celebration of simple-hearted, but wise peasants with a profound culture.

The movie is like Samuel Becket's definitive theatre of the absurd, "Waiting for Godot." But while the depressed Irish playwright's characters wander around in a desolate landscape, Kiarostami's engineer is placed in a spacious, richly colored world that yields tantalizing, paradoxical hints of meaning, despite the random, aimless movements of the human beings who inhabit it.

Perhaps we're seeing this story from the wind's point-of-view.
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What a wonderful movie
anders-8513 December 2004
What a wonderful movie. Iranian movies are making way internationally and are also becoming an important political tool. The leading Iranian director is Abbas Kiarostami. I really enjoyed the rhythm of this strange and different movie. This is an art-film at its very best. All set in the wonderful scenery of Kurdistan. The pictures and the poetry is beautiful. The cast is natural, common people. Please buy the DVD and see it! The movie is - unfortunately - sure not to come to a theater near you. The director Abbas Kiarostami says that 50% of a movie is made by associations and in the audience own head. Very different from the American movies where everything usually is served on one plate.
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I Love Iranian Movies, But This One is Very Boring and Overrated
claudio_carvalho12 April 2005
I am a great fan of Iranian films, and I have many titles in my collection. They are usually low budget, but very creative and sensitive movies. However, I found "Bad Ma Ra Khahad Bord" very boring and overrated. I do not know whether today it was not the right day for me to watch it, if I was too tired, or if I missed the point, but I did not like the story. For Western viewers like me, it is very interesting to see this total different culture of an ancient people, the geography of their country, their costumes and mainly their great concern with education, presented in most of the Iranian movies. Further, Abbas Kiarostami is a recognized and awarded director. And in accordance with the cover of the VHS, this movie awarded the Venice Festival in the category Best Film. But all of these elements together are not necessary or sufficient to make me like this movie. I have some friends of mine that will certainly criticize my review, but this is my honest opinion. "Bad Ma Ra Khahad Bord" is interesting while shows a different culture and geography, but also too long and tedious. Anyway, I intend to see it again in a near future in a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to reevaluate my present opinion. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "O Vento Nos Levará" ("The Wind Will Carry Us")
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Kiarostami's cinema; contemplate it!
guisreis20 April 2020
A film with the stamp of master Kiarostami: great cinematography, good text, simple story, competent acting (including children, it is important to be highlighted). Here, exploring the environment is more than telling a story with many ups-and-downs. It is another grammar of cinema and Abbas Kiarostami masters it. Critic J. Hoberman describes well: "The Wind Will Carry Us is a film about nothing and everything - life, death, the quality of light on dusty hills." In some sense, "The wind will carry us" is the other side of "Taste of cherry".
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Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so.
fred3f20 May 2008
Maybe I just don't get it, but it seems as though I should. I usually like slow, sensitive, moody films with a deep human message. I'm usually the guy who sticks with a movie and finds it interesting when my more action minded friends have impatiently abandoned it. I love Eric Rohmer, and Ozu, for example. The setting of this film is exotic, the values and customs of the people are interesting. I thought this film would be something I'd love.

It wasn't.

Partly, I think it was the acting. The lead was good, but the acting of everyone else was - well, I don't like to criticize amateurs. It looks like the director used local non-actors for most of the roles, and while this did give the film a certain reality and authenticity, the non-professionals "acted" as if they were reading from a card. Scared and wooden, they seemed to be hoping they wouldn't goof up on the words. The only exception was that the child would occasionally seem natural, but in situations where he was still and before the camera, he usually acted as wooden as anyone else. This sort of thing tends to break the suspension of disbelief that is necessary for an audience to get involved in a film. Many people are too busy reading subtitles to notice this, but then many people do notice it even though they are reading subtitles. I am one of the latter.

Then there was the script. For a while it was difficult to figure out what exactly was going on and why the engineer was there. I don't think that was the director's intention and it may be the fault of the subtitle translation. However, the effect is to confuse the viewer for far too long. In fact if I hadn't picked up the case and read the liner notes during the film I may not have figured it out at all.

The pace is slow. Many great films have a slow pace, but slowness doesn't necessarily make a great film by itself. Great directors can build interest in a slow film with mood, a slow but steady accumulation of details and other interesting things. But without considerable skill at film-making, slowness is just - slow. There are scenes that just seem to be endless for no real reason. A long sequence of a dung beetle pushing a ball of dung, for example. There may be a symbolic meaning here but after a bit you either get it or you don't and there is no point in letting the scene continue to run.

Too many films today are superficial, and any director who tries to make a film with a deep human message, deserves some credit. However, just because a director has this as his theme, does not mean the movie will be a great one. Unfortunalatly, in comparison with films by great and highly skilled directors such as Rohmer or Ozu, this film does not measure up. I believe the director had a good idea but he overreached beyond his skills.

I hope that Abbas Kiarostami will continue to make films. Perhaps he will develop into a great director. Hopefully he will continue to tackle difficult themes, but more successfully. There are seeds here that could develop. Perhaps one day this film will be viewed as an imperfect early effort by a now great director. Perhaps.
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Abbas Kiarostami
yusufpiskin25 October 2021
An amazing Abbas Kiarostami movie. Inspired by the poem of Furug Ferruhzad, in this film, the director tells the universality experienced in daily life in the Iranian countryside without getting involved in the slightest arabesque element.

When the epic simplicity of the movie is watched with admiration, you will feel sorry for the millions of dollars spent on Hollywood movies of the new era.
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Only a filmmaker as gifted as Kiarostami could take the familiar fish-out-of-water story and invest it with such fresh ideas.
khanbaliq27 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The film was instantly hailed as a classic and completely firmed director Abbas Kiarostami's position as the single most acclaimed director amongst the art-house circles of the 1990s. Mysterious visitors arrive at a remote Kurdistani village and reveal enormous interest in an old dying woman.

Intriguing and ambiguous, this film mixes witty and absurdist comedy with an unexpected thriller element, while contrasting traditional rural life with urban modernity. The answers to the questions it poses reveal themselves gradually, and seem to lie in the very landscape. The Wind Will Carry Us is a film of poetic depth that alludes to questions of life and mortality almost by stealth.
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meetings between big cities and small towns
lee_eisenberg9 February 2017
An occasional motif in cinema is the arrival of a person from a big city in a small town. It's gotten played for laughs (My Cousin Vinny) and gotten used for terror (The Birds). But Abbas Kiarostami's "Bād mā rā khāhad bord" ("The Wind Will Carry Us" in English) is probably the first instance where it's been philosophical. The movie focuses on some journalists who go to a Kurdish village to document the rituals anticipating the death of an elderly woman, only to see the woman survive. One of the journalists proceeds to meander through the village, his cell phone remaining the only link to the outside world. It's as though the stay in this village is the first time that he's had a chance to simply experience life.

So far I've liked every Kiarostami movie that I've seen, and that includes this one. It's basically a focus on our understanding of life (the urban concept of it vs. the rural concept of it). Abbas Kiarostami, like Akira Kurosawa and Martin Scorsese, is someone whose work revolutionized cinema. It's too bad that he died last year (one of the many notable people who left us during the atrocity that was 2016).
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Contented monotony of village life ... I must have missed any important theme
Dilip27 December 2000
I hadn't had the good fortune to be exposed to contemporary Iranian film so jumped at the opportunity when "Wind Will Carry Us" came to a local theatre, where I saw it Dec. 21, 2000. Maybe something was lost in the translation, but the plot seems to be of an engineer and several of his mysteriously secluded companions who have driven hundreds of miles from Tehran to witness a death in a small village. It wasn't clear why they were doing this, but the engineer does seem commissioned to photograph elements of the death ceremony.

The film showed the contented monotony of village life, and put the impatient engineer in a holding pattern, as days then weeks go by with the infirm woman's health stable and at times even seeming to improve. It was somewhat humorous to see the incongruity of the engineer's getting phone calls on his cell phone, and having to run to his car parked at the base of this hillside village and drive to a lookout so as to get reception.

I must have missed important elements of the film, perhaps because of relying on the subtitles. I am glad that I went to see it to enjoy the peeks into small village life in Iran, but didn't come away moved by any other significant impression.
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Beautiful scenery and message
gbill-7487726 March 2022
A film which immerses us into the simple lives of Kurdish villagers living in a rocky town tucked between two bluffs in Northwestern Iran, as a man and his colleagues show up for reasons which aren't apparent for at least half its runtime. They say they're engineers but are awfully interested in the state of a very old woman nearing death. I won't say more so as not to spoil it, but also because there is little spoil - this isn't a very plot-driven film. The man is constantly driving up to the nearest hilltop to get reception for his phone, where he meets a man digging a ditch through a cemetery and acquires a human thigh bone, his own little memento mori, and he's regularly asking the women in the town for milk. There are some beautiful scenes of the rugged people and their surroundings, particularly towards the end, and the Persian poetry that's sprinkled in throughout the film is wonderful.

I can't say I truly loved it though, because I don't think the payoff was strong enough to overcome the very slow pace. That is undoubtedly a part of the point, slowing the viewer down to the rhythms of this village, but aside from marveling over being transported to a place I'll never see in person, I didn't find the dialogue particularly interesting, and the film was about a half hour longer than it should have been. There is a warmth and politeness in how these people talk to one another, and you can feel Kiarostami's undeniable humanism while watching it. We're here for a short time in this beautiful place, he tells us, so enjoy it to the fullest, because we have no guarantees about an afterlife. Great message, but a near miss for the film as a whole.
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Bad ma ra khahad bord
sharky_557 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Wind Will Carry Us is slow-paced and meandering, and this is initially infuriating for a viewer. It is the same sort of cultural shock that hits the 'Engineer' upon arriving at the modest, quiet villages etched into the side of the mountain. Kiarostami takes time to point his camera at trivial instances - an apple falling down pipes, a bone floating down the river. The dialogue goes everywhere but ends up nowhere nearer to Behzad's goal: to film the macabre mourning ceremony that will occur once a 100 year old woman passes away. But it does not happen at once, and they are forced to wait. They are impatient - all but Behzad never even show their faces, nor does his supervisor on the phone. They are a symbolic absence that hints at their inability to re-orientate themselves within this small community. The comical recurring gag is that every time Behzad gets a call he must drive all the way up to the highest hill, ironically near a cemetery, just to again be chastised by his boss and have little explanation except to plead for a few more days.

It is in fact his hurried nature that clashes with the village and its inhabitants. The opening scene is a marvel - Kiarostami captures the 4 journalists in gorgeous overhead wide shots that emphasise the physical beauty of the surroundings, the rolling golden hills, the winding pathway, the pristine green pastures. And then he subverts this experience by placing our ears right into the car - they bicker and bicker for 5 minutes, arguing whether they are going the right way and if their directions were correct, completely oblivious to the nature around them. Even when the car breaks down and they are forced to confront the physical setting, the dialogue continues right into our ears as if we were walking alongside Behzad, constantly querying about his objective. This technique mars our experience too, because the pervasive squabbling and questioning is at odds with the distance and beauty that the camera presents.

Elsewhere Kiarostami wields his camera with a curious omniscience, ever at conflict with the keenly busy engineer. In one instance, having received bad news from his boss, he angrily kicks out at a turtle, knocking it on its back. And then as he drives away, we remain focused on the writhing creature. In most movies this would be solely to emphasise the cruelty he has inflicted, and perhaps hammer home the message of his disregard for the wilderness and nature. But lo and behold, the turtle pops back up again, with Behzad long gone. Nature is not so easily swayed, not at least by the urban touch of these visitors. Much like the turtle, the village elder also refuses to die at his command. The group are so obviously out of their depth, but do not ever seem to consider and recognise it. A evocative poem's power is neutered by a culture clash - to be able to conjure up such stirring imagery, but rush past golden fields swaying in the wind on foot, bike and car. He is scolded as he tries to discreetly capture a candid argument between two elderly villagers on the labours of life and love - this must be experienced in person. And as he has his daily shave, he looks towards the camera which doubles as a mirror, and the observer, who sees so little with his filtered perspective, becomes the observed.
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Simple and poetic. I loved it!
brush_the_snow25 July 2004
This is poetry. The landscapes filmed by Kiarostami are beautiful. The cinematography is just fabulous. It is a very simple and honest movie, about life, and death too. It just flows... Most of the people seen in the movie are not actors, they are really just the population of Siah Dareh and that makes this look real, not some fake pretentious bullshit like many we see nowadays. The interaction with the little boy is truly touching. I loved this and you will either love it or find it the most boring movie ever. It isn't, really and if you do find it boring, maybe your own true self isn't just ready for this type of film. I truly recommend it. The words "bad ma ra khahad bord" will remain with me forever. I was marked by this beautiful piece of art.
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You Made Kurdistan The Most Boring Place On The Planet ? Well Done Heval
Theo Robertson18 March 2017
I watched mainly due to an academic film course at Edinburgh University . Would I have watched it anyway you ask ? Well one thing I noticed while watching it is that the characters speak Sorani and not Farsi and the strange head-dress some of the female characters wear singles the village out as a Kurdish village and not an Iranian one . Indeed after seeing the film I popped on to Google and it did confirm the characters are Kurds and not Persians so I probably would have gone out of my way to watch it. If I had I would have been equally disappointed. Why ? Let's look at the premise

"Man goes to remote rural village where the locals await the sad death of village matriarch"

I should point out that if it's excitement you're after the protagonist who is titled "Engineer" spends a fair amount of time speaking on a mobile phone in between meeting the villagers. That's it as far as excitement goes . It could be set in any third world village and one thing you should always communicate from a third world village is the difference between the location and any other third world village. Director Abbas Kiarostami is very much influenced by Italian neo-realism and the problem is the realism of existence is very mundane and Kurdistan isn't really a region you'd associate with the mundane

To be fair to Kiarostami the Kurds struggle against the scum of the IRGC and other Iranian mass murderers and rapists didn't start until 2004 . Instead it was the Kurds of Iraq who were carving out Kurdish statehood against the most vile fascists imaginable so in those days Eastern Kurdistan was very peaceful . Also to be fair it does point out the humbling hospitality of the Kurdish people . Even so you should expect a lot more from a foreign film. Ask yourself this: if this was set in a mountainous region of Nepal would the critics and festival voters be falling over themselves to praise it ? Of course not . It's just getting rewarded for being an Iranian film that gives an international audience a surprising flavour of what life in Iran might be like

As for Kurdistan I was over in Southern Kurdistan last Summer. As I was enjoying a cup of coffee in an Erbil hotel I got talking to a waiter who spoke English . It turned out he was a refugee from Rojava in Western Kurdistan. We spoke at length about the situation in Northern Syria: "Everyone in the West is going on about about Deash or ISIS we call it back home but forget the vast majority of people killed in Syria have been killed by the Assad government" and eventually the oonversation got around to religion. Despite the secular revolutionary ideals of the YPG and others Kurdish society is rather conservative and Islamic , surprisingly so . The waiter seemed stunned when I stated I didn't believe in a God or afterlife: "Then what do you believe ? " He asked in polite astonishment

This threw me . How do you explain secular ideals to someone from the Middle East ? I made an involuntary movement where my finger momentarily touched my chin then my hand touched my chest "You believe what's in your heart ?" He asked

" "Hmmm . Yes"

So I'll vote with my heart on THE WIND THAT WILL CARRY US and give it 4/10 . I'll also be attending a film class featuring the works of Abbas Kiarostami on Thursday and I'm sure a favourite catchphrase of mine - "If I want to get tortured I'll hand myself in to ISIS next time I'm in Kurdistan" - will be getting wheeled out yet again
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