The movies of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami defy the expectations of anyone raised on Hollywood or even European films. The Wind Will Carry Us, for example, is about a filmmaker who comes to a small village where an ol... more »d woman is dying, hoping to document a harsh ritual of mourning practiced by the villagers. Unfortunately for him, the invalid clings to life, and he spends most of his time driving up and down a mountainside because his cell phone only gets good reception at the top. But while he waits and frets, around him the life of the village continues, and this vitality--captured in moments that seem like a diversion from the movie's supposed storyline--is fundamentally what The Wind Will Carry Us is about. What seems dull one moment will suddenly become a rich and subtle expression of human behavior. A strikingly different cinematic experience. --Bret Fetzer« less
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 11/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Plot summary: Film crew travels to remote village to document a death ritual. Once in the village, however, they find the deathly ill woman has not perished yet and so they settle in and wait. Each day they enquire about the old womans health and each day the news is different. The focus is on one member of the crew and how he slowly acclimates himself to the villagers, to nature, and to time as he waits for an event that may or may not occur. This is my second Abbas Kiorastami film. I recently saw Close Up and after seeing this one I want to see all of his films. Kiorastami is a film maker for people who want something unique. Hollywood is all about stating the obvious and Kiorastami is all about subtlety. Most films work by speeding things up and meeting expectations but Kiorastami works by slowing things down and subverting expectations. In CLOSE UP an out-of-work man with a family to support pretends to be a famous director and befriends a wealthy family who believes he truly is the director. As time passes the family begins to suspect that he may not be who he says he is. It is an intimate study of human relationships and how relationships develop to fulfill a mutual need. When the family finds out the man is merely an imposter they are angry at first and they take him to court but then as they listen to his reasons for pretending they forgive him and at films end we see that the friendship will resume. It is an examination of how relationships form and also an examination of society and how society shapes the way we relate to and see each other. THE WIND WILL CARRY US is another version of this story but instead of the poor man befriending the rich it is about a city dweller befriending village folk. The city dweller finds himself treating the villagers like an object for study because that is his training as a film maker but the villagers just quietly go about their business allowing the city dweller to do his thing. The villagers are a community who all rely on each other and the city dweller is facinated by how the villagers take care of each other. He relies on them for all his practical needs like food and lodging but also for his social needs as well. As he tries to communicate with various villagers we can see that he is trying to make a connection with life that has so far been denied him in the city. The city dweller is the kind of man who quotes poetry freely but for him life is abstract whereas for the villagers life is real. Thus his fascination with them. For the first time in his life he finds himself looking at nature, at life, and at people up close. Its a very long film with lots of quiet stretches but that is Kiorastami's style--instead of hurrying you along from one scene to the next he allows you to occupy each scene and feel life not in film time but in real time. Once you surrender to the style you begin to feel its magisterial effect. CLOSE UP was kind of grainy and low budget (though still a great film) but this film is state of the art. Truly pristine cinematography. I highly recommend both films."
Another masterpiece from Kiarostami
Chris Stolz | canada | 09/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Abbas Kiarostami is surely one of the top talents in cinema anywhere. For those accustomed to Hollywood, Bollywood or European movies, his work will seem deceptively simple and slow. Eschewing professional actors, special effects, top-40 and world music soundtracks, complicated make-up and massive advertising campaigns, Kiarostami makes films that unfold into an extraordinaray philosophical complexity that is firmly and compassionately anchored in day-to-day human experience.
In "The WInd WIll Carry Us," a man from Teheran moves to a small village in order to do a job for his employer. His exact mission is unclear. He has hilarious trouble with his cell phone, flirts with a milkmaid, watches the slow and subtle rhythms of village life, and sometimes does nothing.
It is a testament to Kiarostami's perception and skill that the film-- despite its simple story and slow pacing-- is utterly captivating and complex. The film's title comes from an old Persian love poem that the protagonist quotes during his flirtation:
"In the courtyard, the wind is about to meet the leaves."
The sexual allusion here is also a philosophical one, as the protagonist seems to be waiting for some kind of chemical reaction, something to shake him up and lift him. How this moment of awakening will come is the film's subject, and Kiarostami leads us to it the way life does-- indirectly. We must watch, and look, and SEE, what is happening in the village-- and in the contrast between the protagonist's frantic running after his phone calls and the village's slow and deliberate movement toward the film's climactic ritual emerge its meaning.
Kiarostami's cinematography is simple and effective. He makes superb use of Iran's fall colours-- gold and brown-- and rural dust and emptiness. The simplest scenes-- a man buy cooking oil, women walking-- are fascinating in their wealth of simple detail, and the film's subtle yet powerful climax ends with an unforgettable image of a humerus (thigh bone) drifting in the river.
If life is what happens while we are busy making other plans-- and if art is what happens while we are busy having expectations of film genres-- the Kiarostami's masterwork is living art indeed."
The Feeling of Time
J_J_Gittes | Germany | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw the film again after three years, and it`s lyrical beauty was even more obvious than the first time. The title is taken from a poem, and when it is recited, in the darkness of a cave, one can feel all the beauty that surrounds us, even if we don`t always see it. The Film is about a man who has an inner struggle, but doesn`t want to see it. Only at the end of the film he aknowledges it, though he can`t solve it. The small village he came to, 700 miles away from Teheran, awakens his senses, his lust for life, even though he came looking for death. When in the end the old woman dies, it is totally unexpected, and it doesn`t really matter anymore. Maybe he will stay, maybe he will go, but he is changed. Life needs living says this film, almost shouts it in your face, but with such warmth of breath, that you go with it. Along with the estranged character the viewer starts to rediscover the world, if he pays attention, and out of the endless flow of time, compassion starts to arise, compassion for the flowers, the trees, the earth, and the people, with all their beauty and shortcomings. The worst disease is death says a character in the film, when we`ll have to leave this earth. One day, the wind will carry us away."
This was a good introduction to Iranian cinema
Richard K. Woodward | Edinburgh, Scotland | 07/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad this was the first Iranian film I saw. I might have been put off if I had seen Kiarostami's "Taste of Cherry" or Samira Makhmalbaf's "Apple," but thanks to this film I began to acquire a taste for what is surely some of the most interesting filmmaking going on in recent years. One of the finest moments in the film is a subtly erotic moment when the protagonist recites the poem by Forugh Farrokhzad from which the film takes its name to a girl milking an animal (a goat? a cow?). (Farrokhzad - an Iranian feminist poetess who died at age 32 - is very interesting in her own right, and the introduction to her work is another thing I'm grateful to Kiarostami for.) The pace and style are very similar to those of Gus Van Sant's recent films (e.g., "Gerry"). I personally find this very refreshing. A minor point: many reviewers refer to "Arabs." In a time when so much is going on in the Middle East, this kind of ignorance is very irritating. Since when is Iran an Arab country? The people depicted are mostly Kurds."
From apes to civilization
Nader F. | Brookline, MA | 01/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 2001-A space odyssey, the thigh bone from a downed animal is used by a primate tool to kill one of the opposition gang and run the rest away. The first use of a tool, the first use of tool as weapon, a joyous cry for start of "civilization".The primate twirls his discovery, the bone, skyward in rejoice. The tumbling bone morphs into a "pan am" space shuttle, and you probably know the rest.The antagonist in the Wind finds a similar bone at the bottom of a well that a menial worker is digging. The well is for, what we learn, would be the foundation of a new cellular phone tower, or communication.Our antagonist hero carries the bone around on the dashboard of his jeep, which he uses to rush to the top of the same hill day after day to better reception. He needs to talk to his boss about his journalistic mission of documenting a ritual common in kurdish communities upon a loved one's death. The suggestion is that primitive is something that modern society want to gawk at, at any
cost. We are left to our own devices to guess why this is so, but cheap shows on every television screen across the globe attests to this. From travel "documentaries" to game shows, zero in on primitive instincts.It is an education of the senses that takes shape in this movie. From innate principals of human values, educated or not, taught by a young student to everyone in the film, to the pleasures of life for life's sake. The taste of cherries if you are lucky to be able to taste them any longer. Although,
here the cherries have also morphed into strawberries being harvested by young and beautiful people who don't gawk at nature as a primitive show, but as the temporary setting of their lives.At the end, it is clear that to save a life is to save yourself. Our hero goes through the intense trauma of getting help for his unseen well digger friend buried under rubble, and mirrored in the life of a free spirited doctor who has given up a city practice to be carried by the wind to those who can help him save himself.In The Wind Will Carry Us, the hero twirls his discovery, the bone, onto a clear, fresh, gurgling stream, that is, there is no such a thing as primitive. Life is life, and he manages to capture a couple of instances of it on a couple of frames on his Nikon, after the old woman he was on a death watch of passes away. But his frames show the humanity, not primitiveness of the procession.Kiarostami captures thousands of distinct instances frames of life being carried away on the frames of this amazing visual poem in traditional of great persian poets."