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Kiarostami coming up


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It's exciting to see a film by that great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami scheduled for tonight's Imports series. TCM has shown his A Taste of Cherry, perhaps his best-known and appreciated work. But he's made many others just as good, though this is not one of them. Not that it isn't very good. He's one of a number of directors, among them Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, that have a particular style of storytelling, involving small, unremarkable subjects that make the viewer wonder at first why the filmmaker bothered telling the tale. Yet our interest is held, and through it's elaboration, we are unconsciously drawn into the course of events, until by the end we are surprised to find the extent we are involved with the characters, care what happens to them, how much it says about the human condition, and how powerful the effect it has on us.


Aside from the surface story, Kiarostami's films should be seen as commentaries about the political, religious, social, and economic conditions in Iran. Because of the control the goverment has on creativity, they have to be disguised, but it's not too hard to see how the characters and events that exist on a local or personal level can translate to a national or cultural level.

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