Through the Olive Trees
Time Out saysIn And Life Goes On... (1992), the 'director' of Abbas Kiarostami's earlier Where Is My Friend's House? (played by Farhad Kheradmand) returned to the mountain village of Koker. He wished to discover if the locals who'd acted in Where Is My Friend's House? had survived a devastating earthquake. In this third instalment, we see the (fictionalised) behind-the-scenes events that occurred during the shooting of And Life Goes On... If this Chinese Boxes format sounds confusing, fear not, for the storyline is simplicity itself; virtually all that happens is that the director of Life... (played by Mohammad Ali Keshavarz) talks to quake survivors about their lives, deals with non-professionals unable to remember their lines, and witnesses the romantic complications that arise when Hossein, an extra, decides to use his one and only scene to pursue his troubled courtship of Tahereh, the girl he loves in real life. Get used to the long takes and what at first appears to be an inconsequential narrative, and pretty soon the many levels of intellectual and emotional meaning will work their magic: it's a witty, poignant, illuminating film about the problems that affect movie-makers faced with intractable reality, about cinema's potential as a unifying force, and about the determination and the ability of people to survive tragedy, poverty, injustice and the vicissitudes of love. Sheer brilliance.