Fill in the Blanks | Movie Review | Chicago Reader
Taste of Cherry is a Iranian drama film written, produced and directed by Abbas The film does not include a background score, except for the ending titles. This features a trumpet piece, Louis Armstrong's adaptation of "St. James. At the end of Taste of Cherry, Badii, apparently having taken his sleeping to make a connection, to be involved, to make an imaginative leap. I find 'Taste of Cherry' one of those and that's why I loved it.. but if slow paced its ending is an enough premise to start an endless debate that will lead to I like that the movie is an abstract meditation on the relationship.
He is willing to help Badii because he needs the money for his sick child, but tries to talk him out of it; he reveals that he too wanted to commit suicide a long time ago but chose to live when he tasted mulberries. The Azeri promises to throw earth on Badii if he finds him dead in the morning. That night, Badii lies in his grave while a thunderstorm begins. After a long blackout, the film ends by breaking the fourth wall with camcorder footage of Kiarostami and the film crew filming Taste of Cherry.
Homayoun Ershadi as Mr. Badii Abdolrahman Bagheri as Mr. Bagheri, the taxidermist Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari as Worker Safar Ali Moradi as Soldier Mir Hossein Noori as Seminarian Style[ edit ] The consistent close up of the character Badii Homayoun Ershadi in Taste of Cherry is later juxtaposed by a panoramic overhead view as his car moves across the hills The film is minimalist in that it is shot primarily with long takes ; the pace is leisurely and there are long periods of silence.
Badii is rarely shown in the same shot as the person he is talking to this is partly because during the filming, director Kiarostami was sitting in the car's passenger seat. Kiarostami's style in the film is notable for the use of long shots, such as in the closing sequences. He creates distance for the audience from the characters to stimulate reflection on their fate.
Curzon on demand: Taste of Cherry
Taste of Cherry is punctuated throughout by shots of this kind, including distant overhead shots of the Badii's car moving across the hills, usually while he is conversing with a passenger. The visual distancing stand in contrast to the sound of the dialog, which always remains in the foreground.
Like the coexistence of private and public space, or the frequent framing of landscapes through car windows, this fusion of distance with proximity can be seen as a way of generating suspense in the most mundane of moments. This features a trumpet piece, Louis Armstrong 's adaptation of " St. When the film was released in the United States, however, it met with a split reaction among critics and audiences.
Roger Ebert wrote a scathing review in The Chicago Sun-Timesgiving the film a mere 1 out of 4 stars. Ebert dismissed the film as "excruciatingly boring" and added,  "I understand intellectually what Kiarostami is doing.
I am not impatiently asking for action or incident. The shot lingers over the wind in the trees, which are now in full bloom, and over the soldiers and filmmakers lounging on the hillside between takes, before the camera pans away to a car driving off into the distance. To the strains of a Louis Armstrong instrumental version of "St.
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James Infirmary," the final credits come on. The ending of Taste of Cherry, unlike everything preceding it, is shot on video--which is part of what makes it startling. When Kiarostami was in town for a preview screening at the Film Center three months ago, one of the first questions he was asked was why he shot the ending on a different kind of film stock. I expected him to respond by explaining that the film stock was the same, that it was only the raw texture of the video image that made the image look different.
But Kiarostami chose instead to answer the question as if its assumption were correct. Perhaps his reason lies in a statement he made three years ago at a conference in Paris: Kiarostami seems to feel the same way about the false rumors surrounding the film after it was made, most of them having to do with its treatment of the theme of suicide.
He'd had to wait about a year for spring to come again before he could shoot the film's ending, and this delay had led to much speculation in the press. The film arrived toward the end of the Cannes festival last year, after stories circulated that it might not turn up at all because Islamic law prohibits suicide and Kiarostami was having problems with the Iranian government--which proved to be only half true.
Because of a law prohibiting premieres of Iranian movies prior to their showing at an Iranian film festival--a law that has since been repealed--Kiarostami was having trouble getting his film to Cannes, but it had nothing to do with the suicide theme.
This didn't prevent the New York Times and several reviewers from reporting that the film's arrival at Cannes represented a triumph over Iranian censorship. If one wants to see Kiarostami as a martyr in relation to the Islamic state, one could more correctly cite the resentment of his popularity in the West and his focus on poverty that forced him to edit most of Taste of Cherry in the middle of the night--the only time editing equipment was made available to him.
When I brought up the false reporting to Kiarostami, he said, "Actually, I like to have this kind of interpretation in conversations and dialogue around my films When this interpretation is in the hands of the mass media, who can control it anyway?
And sometimes they want to misunderstand. Instead of audiences filling these empty spaces, publicists and journalists fill them. There's always a chance that audiences will think about those parts and find their own solutions. But as I discovered during our conversation, none of his last several features was scripted. The dialogue was generated mainly by Kiarostami working alone with his nonprofessional actors, yet none of them had a clear sense of the overall film--so a great deal of manipulation was involved, on several levels.
Most of the dialogue in Taste of Cherry occurs between Badii and his three passengers, but none of the actors ever met during the filming, apart from Ershadi and Abdolhossein Bagheri, who plays the Turkish taxidermist they have a brief second meeting outside the museum where the taxidermist works. Kiarostami filmed each actor alone, sometimes without any of his crew present, sitting in the passenger seat while Ershadi drove or himself driving with one of the other actors as a passenger.
Like a novelist inhabiting each of his characters, Kiarostami thus "played" all these people offscreen, soliciting on-screen dialogue and reactions from each actor through a series of ruses; when he wanted the actor playing the Kurdish soldier to express amazement, he told me, "I started to speak to him in Czech.
At another point, when I wanted him to look afraid, I placed a gun in the glove compartment, and asked him to open it for a chocolate. In Taste of Cherry one clear if subliminal effect of his working with each actor in isolation is the creation of a powerful sense of solitude that's felt throughout the film prior to the exhilarating camaraderie of the epilogue, regardless of whether Badii is alone or with someone else. Yet Kiarostami's determination to set this film exclusively in exteriors, in terms of what we hear as well as see--refusing to enter the museum or Badii's flat and leaving the windows of Badii's Range Rover wide open--inflects this sense of solitude with an equally strong and continuous sense of being in the world.
Consequently, though the film unfolds inside the most private space imaginable--the dark recesses of an individual consciousness bidding farewell to life--it perceives life itself almost exclusively in terms of public and social space.
This places viewers on the same existential plane as the hero, contemplating the prospect of their own solitary death in the public space of a theater.
'Driving into the Void: Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry' | Hamish Ford - express-leader.info
It also places them on the same plane as each of the passengers, contemplating the question of how they might respond to such an entreaty from a stranger. Most of Kiarostami's plots are illustrations of simple ideas--especially apparent in his wonderful didactic shorts for children such as Two Solutions for One Problem and Regularly or Irregularly? Each mission becomes a kind of fool's progress, and the hero's persistence is usually viewed in comic terms. In Taste of Cherry--where the mission is the hero's extinction, and the comedy is subtler, apart from a few lines of the Turkish taxidermist--the tone is atypically somber.
Prior to the epilogue, the action is limited to a single day and evening, but gradually this brief span of time comes to represent the expanse of an entire life, with Badii's passengers representing three successive stages in that life. Their professions are equally evocative, and their nationalities, like the Armstrong number at the end, help to spell out how multicultural and international this Iranian movie is.
Few films are more attentive to the poignancy of time passing and the slow fading of daylight, so that everyday details over the day's progress--from field workers cheerfully lifting Badii's car out of a rut to a bulldozer emptying dirt and rocks, from a plane's wispy exhaust trail in the sky to a glimpse of schoolchildren running around a track--register increasingly as small signs and epiphanies in an existence that's about to be extinguished.
The closest thing Kiarostami has to a visual signature might be termed the cosmic long shot--used to humorous and philosophical effect in the closing sequences of Life and Nothing More and Through the Olive Trees, where our distance from the characters and what they're saying turns their destinies into abstract puzzles, spaces to be filled by our intuition and invention. Taste of Cherry is punctuated throughout by shots of this kind, including distant overhead shots of Badii's car moving across the hills, usually while he's conversing with a passenger--but the sound of their dialogue always remains in the foreground, recalling long-shot-like panels in comic books accompanied by dialogue bubbles.
Like the coexistence of private and public space or the frequent framing of landscapes through car windows, this fusion of distance with proximity is part of the way Kiarostami gives enormous weight to the simplest everyday moments. During his conversation with the soldier Badii says, "I had fun when I did my military service. It was the best time of my life. I met my closest friends there, especially during the first six months.
It's the closest he ever comes in the film to a personal confession, and when we see the soldiers in the epilogue they're counting too. An Iranian friend informs me that one of the words they're also chanting is "revolution.
It's the closest he comes in the film to justifying his decision to end his life. During Badii's conversation with the taxidermist--which Kiarostami cuts to in medias res, eliding how they met and how their conversation began--it's the taxidermist who does most of the talking, explaining how close he came to suicide himself back inafter a fight with his wife. Deciding to hang himself, he carried a rope to a mulberry-tree plantation, but before he could complete the deed he decided to taste a mulberry, then a second and a third.
He looked at the scenery, heard the voices of children, and decided to live. A little later he asks Badii, "Do you want to give up the taste of cherries? I've never met a filmmaker who qualifies as less of a cinephile than Kiarostami. Though filmmaking recurs as a subject throughout his work, this has more to do with his relation to the world as a filmmaker than to his relation to cinema per se.
Taste of Cherry - Wikipedia
The history of Iran can't be matched up precisely with the history of the West, however much we may wish to establish points of contact and convergence. For that matter, the state of the Western world at mid-century reflected in the innovations of Bresson, Tati, Godard, Rivette, and Antonioni can't be matched up precisely with the state of the planet at the century's end reflected in the innovations of Kiarostami and others.
Insofar as Taste of Cherry is a response to the 90s more than a response to the history of cinema, it has more in common with Hou Hsiao-hsien's Goodbye South, Goodbye and Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet's Cezanne--two other beautiful recent films about the obliteration of the landscapes of urban outskirts--than it does with L'avventura or Playtime, which deal respectively with the loss of values and the renegotiation of public space.
Kiarostami's narrative elisions and his sense of time passing remind me of those films only because those films are part of my world and my vocabulary for understanding it.
A friend who rented Life and Nothing More at my suggestion reported that he liked it all except for the film's refusal to reveal whether the mission of its hero was ever accomplished. This mission--Kiarostami's own prior to making the film--was searching villages in northern Iran to discover if the two lead child actors of Where Is My Friend's House?
Asked about this in an interview, Kiarostami explained that his desire to find the boys was purely personal and to resolve that issue in a film would be sentimental--which probably would have made his film a hit in Iran but would have betrayed his intentions.
My two heroes could have been among them. A colleague who finds Taste of Cherry "excruciatingly boring" objects in particular to the fact that we don't know anything about Badii, to what he sees as the distracting suggestion that Badii might be a homosexual looking for sex, and to what he sees as the tired "distancing strategy" of reminding us at the end that we're seeing a movie. From the perspective of the history of commercial Western cinema, he has a point on all three counts. But Kiarostami couldn't care less about conforming to that perspective, and given what he can do, I can't think of any reason he should care.
If Kiarostami had wanted us to empathize only with Badii's suicidal impulses, he might have told us more about the man.