Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Much of the beginning of the film is simply watching the world pass by out of a car window. Left to right, left to right, left to right… in time, the stubborn search takes them literally off the beaten path and onto the omnisciently viewed zigzagging dirt pathways that would become a Kiarostami visual signature.
As the driver heads into the scene of the recent major earthquake, scores of aid workers and volunteers are seen clearing rubble and attempting to help those in need. (View from the car window is an unbroken master shot of the flurry of activity. Not one body is static as we move passed the desperate scene of crumpled structures and multilayered destruction.
And then, the first obvious bit of Kiarostami's conceptual onion skinning makes itself apparent. In this movie, the other movie is a movie. Eventually, we learn that the driver is a film director and the boy is of course his son. The "film director" is actually carrying with him a small French poster of Where is the Friends House?, displaying a large picture of its youthful star. He shows it several villagers along the way, asking if they've seen the boy. In this film, this man, not Kiarostami directed Where is the Friends House?. Everyone is familiar with the film, referencing the shoot itself. Some even recall having been in the film as an extra. Now though, the director is just another desperate guy in a car looking for someone.
Kiarostami blurs once again the line that separates reality and fiction, this time even making a reference to one of his previous films to offer us a delicate, compelling look at how people can move on with their lives and even help each other in the face of a terrible real tragedy.
Excellent film. Highly recommended. Must watch.
Delightfully and essentially Kiarostami ...
<i>Life, and Nothing More</i>, more properly titled also as <i>And Life Goes On...</i> takes place in the aftermath of the earthquake of Guilan that killed more than 50,000 people. This place happens to be near the location of <i>Where is the Friend's Home?</i> (1990). Therefore, the director of this movie decides to travel to this area with the purpose of finding out the fate of the two key characters in the Iranian modern classic.
But... The director of that movie was Abbas Kiarostami, wasn't he? Well, not according to this film!!
The importance of this movie in particular is extremely massive because of too many reasons to be counted... and yet, there I go.
a) It represents the turning point in Kiarostami's vision, as his visual style of compelling landscapes and in-car conversations begin to shape the auteur vision of the internationally acclaimed Iranian master. This style will be evident in the impressionistic existentialism of <i>Taste of Cherry</i> (1997), and in the psychological poetry of <i>The Wind Will Carry Us</i> (1999).
b) It is the first attempt by Kiarostami to take his meta-film concept to a whole other level. Being the second installment in the Koker trilogy, which refers to the town of Koker in which the protagonist of <i>Where is the Friend's Home</i> lived, you will notice that this wasn't filmed in immediate continuity after the first movie, but <i>Through the Olive Trees</i> (1994) was. In my personal opinion, the documentary <i>Homework</i> (1989) and <i>Close-Up</i> (1990), his absolutely groundbreaking and endlessly brilliant masterpiece, were the neccesary stepping stones for finally merging, for the very first time, the concepts of reality in documentaries and fiction in movies perfectly for the very first time.
c) He is playing with the concepts of reality and fantasy.... Oh boy, here I go with my Levels dissection technique of reality and meta-reality again! Boring, I know:
+ <b>Level 1: <i>Where is the Friend's Home?</i>.-</b> Back in 1987, the whole world saw a minimalist movie of heart-moving, humble and tender proportions. It was the first significant movie of the master by that time. By this time, the only levels in existence was this one, and Level 2, which referred to Kiarostami breaking the movie. Yet <i>And Life Goes On...</i> dared to break the second level from a meta-reality perception.
+ <b>Level 2: <i>And Life Goes On...</i>.-</b> Finding the protagonist of the previous movie and dissecting Kiarostami's psychology through his alter ego Farhad Kheradmand are the most genius achievements of this thought-provoking and visually hypnotizing spectacle. To what extent is the film documented? To what extent is the film scripted? To what extent does the protagonist reflect Kiarostami?
These answers can be obtained with some factual research and interviews, but not essentially obtainable within this film realm, and yet, despite its tragic aftermath imagery and inert rocky settings with some astonishing green hills, the film seems dead in the surface and yet emanates a substantial amount of life that is capable of rejuvenating the film appreciation of the modern viewer, so long submerged in Hollywood standards. The landscapes are a contradiction of destruction and beauty, like an impossible coexistence. Is it possible, then, for reality and fantasy to coexist? It turns out that both, in fact, share a scary degree of interchangeableness, which is the main idea of the film.
And yet, that idea is communicated through a film, not a documentary. What a fascinating, self-assuring paradox!
absolutely brilliant next-level stuff, but don't watch it until you've seen 'where is the friend's home?' it's a crime that these aren't available on dvd in us
In keeping with other films by Kiarostami (and the Iranian New Wave of the 1990s), "And Life Goes On" is formally exciting (exciting form-wise?). The plot involves the filmmakers returning to the village of Koker which was the location for the earlier film "Where is the Friend's Home?" (1987) and which has just been hit by a devastating earthquake. The filmmakers hope to find out whether the child star of the earlier film is alive or dead. Indeed, many are dead, but the Iranians interviewed on camera (playing themselves) speak of the tragedy in a comparatively nonplussed way, signifying that life does go on (as does the World Cup in soccer, happening in the background). Of course, given that this is Kiarostami, we don't know exactly how much of this is fiction and how much is nonfiction. There really was an earthquake but as one character reveals, he was coached how to act in the 1987 film and some details about his life were changed. The same may also be true here. In fact, the co-opting of documentary techniques and location footage to shape a highly structured fiction film (that still feels loose and "random") is all part of Kiarostami's style and purpose. The fact that the quest remains incomplete at the end (after the car tries and fails and then succeeds to climb the steep hill) is surely part of the point. A tribute to human persistence.
A melancholy yet optimistic look at the aftermath of Iran's devastating 1990 earthquake. The acting is so naturalistic it almost lends the film a documentary air, and the director masterfully uses the fractured Iranian landscape as a silent narrator.
Rating: 3.3/5. Definitely not equal to the first of the Koker Trilogy. It is boring at times, but I liked the concept of this film. The camera work I loved also from the car, and some of the photography. Important film, but not great.
Abbas as the master of dialectical filming shot this as the second episode following "Where is my friend's home?" - a semi-documentary film that intends to break the illusion created by the legend of "Where is my friend's home?". It's a touching but critical film...