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.


AND LIFE GOES ON
ZENDEGI VA DIGAR HICH
1992, Janus Films, 95 min, Iran, Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

In the aftermath of a 1990 earthquake that left 30,000 dead, Kiarostami returned to the village of Koker, where his camera surveys not only the devastation but the teeming life that continues in its wake. Blending fiction and reality into a playful, poignant road movie, AND LIFE GOES ON follows a film director (played by an actor standing in for Kiarostami) who, along with his son, makes the difficult trek to the region in hopes of finding out if the young star of his movie WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE? is among the survivors. There he discovers a resilient community pressing on in the face of tragedy as he’s helped along on his journey by the generosity of those he meets. Finding beauty in the bleakest of circumstances, Kiarostami crafts a quietly majestic ode to the best of the human spirit.


WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE?
KHANE-YE DOUST KODJAST?
1987, Janus Films, 83 min, Iran, Dir: Abbas Kiarostami

The first film in Abbas Kiarostami’s sublime, interlacing trilogy of films set in the northern Iranian village of Koker takes a premise of fable-like simplicity - a boy searches for the home of his classmate whose school notebook he has accidentally taken - and transforms it into a miraculous, child’s-eye adventure of the everyday. As our young hero zigzags determinedly across two towns aided (and sometimes misdirected) by those he encounters, his quest becomes both a revealing portrait of Iranian society in all its richness and complexity and a touching parable about the meaning of personal responsibility. Shot through with all the wonder, beauty, tension and mystery one day can contain, WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE? established Kiarostami’s reputation as one of cinema’s most sensitive and profound humanists.


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