Normally when it comes to Abbas Kiarstomi you expect some sort of meditation on realism. This time you get a meditation on realism and you even get a film within a film beginning with the lead actor introducing himself as playing the director. Yet, the movie is a simple love story between two bit players.
The boy Hoiseen is in love with this girl who won’t talk to him except when she has lines to deliver. She and her family dislike him because he doesn’t own a home and is illiterate. Throughout the film we get honest and real pleas from a boy in love for acceptance and love.
In between we get a taste of what goes into getting even one shot complete, but it is the love story that dominates. So when we are left with an ending that allows you to chose it’s outcome, you find out whether you are a romantic or not. Worth your time even if you haven’t seen any other Kiarstomi films.
I had seen 5 films by Abbas Kiarostami before this one and there seems to be two kinds of Kiarostami films. The first are his some what pretentious explorations of realism like Close-Up (1990). The second are the films he made for educational purposes, mostly shorts, like this one but this was a feature film. The film is about a boy who accidentally takes home his friend’s homework workbook. The teacher is a bit of a hardass and has threatened this other boy with expulsion. I’m sure he’s just trying to scare the boys, but put yourself in the shoes of a small boy of about 8 years old and you are quaking in your boots.
So it’s off to return the book. Of course you have to be able to answer the question posed by the title. The film is about trying to find just where the hell this other boy’s home is located. It’s sweet and simple and the final solution is touching. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this film as much as I should have, but Kiarostami’s realist films have bugged me so I am a bit biased. Nevertheless, I recommend this film for Kiarostami’s light touch with children and their world.
Like Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s other films, And Life Goes On is obsessed with realism. The film is about a director and his son who are traveling into a part of Iran devastated by an earthquake. They are in search of the boy who stared in Kiarostami’s film Where Is The Friend’s Home? (1987). On the way, they meet all sorts of different people and kinds of devastation. However, one idea permeates the entire film and that is the title. Despite the destruction and death, those who have survived will go on with life. The film is shot like a documentary, but it’s fiction. It’s one of those films that does everything it can to appear like a documentary without actually being one. Not a mockumentary or a fake documentary, but heavily film employing documentary realism.
Overall, it’s not a bad film. It’s not Kiarostami’s best work, but it’s worth a look.
Close-Up is Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami’s essay on his people’s take on realism and cinema itself. The film is a semi-documentary, semi-fictional take on the real life story of a man who pretended to be his favorite filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. In doing so he mislead a family into thinking that he was going to make a movie with them, or did he? Yes, he lied about who he was, but did he intend to defraud them or would he have gone through with the film? What’s real and what’s acting. Is there a difference? Is a director also an actor in their own way? All of these questions are raised as Kiarostami recreates the man’s trial using many of the actual people involved including the man himself. It’s a dense film, make no mistake about it. However, it is worth seeing because of the questions it poses about the nature of cinema and some of the answers it offers.