THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES
ZIRE DARAKHATAN ZEYTON
1994, Janus Films, 103 min, Iran/France, Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

Kiarostami takes meta-narrative gamesmanship to masterful new heights in the final installment of his celebrated Koker trilogy. Unfolding “behind the scenes” of the shooting of the previous film in the series, AND LIFE GOES ON, THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES traces the complications that arise when the romantic misfortune of one of the actors - a lovelorn young man who pines for the woman cast as his wife even though, in real life, she will have nothing to do with him - creates turmoil on set and leaves the hapless director caught in the middle. An ineffably lovely, gentle human comedy steeped in the folkways of Iranian village life, this Pirandellian pastoral peels away layer after layer of artifice as it investigates the elusive, alchemical relationship between cinema and reality.


THE SALESMAN (2016)
FORUSHANDE
2016, Cohen Media Group, 125 min, Iran/ France, Dir: Asghar Farhadi

Married performers Emad (Shahab Hosseini, a Best Actor winner at Cannes) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are starring in a production of Death of a Salesman when they are forced to evacuate their building. They wind up in a prostitute’s old apartment, where Rana is attacked; as his wife begins to unravel, Emad is determined to find the culprit and wreak revenge. Writer-director Farhadi masterfully ratchets up the tension as emotions boil over and this domestic drama reaches its powerful climax.


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