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Taste of Cherry (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)

Homayoun Ershadi , Abdolrahman Bagheri , Abbas Kiarostami    Unrated   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for this contemplative film about a Muslim, Mr. Badi (Homayon Ershadi), who drives around the barren hills outside Tehran, flagging down passersby and offering good money for a simple job that he's hesitant to explain. He's planning his suicide and seeks someone to perform something of a symbolic eulogy. Most of his subjects refuse (personal morality aside, suicide is forbidden to Muslims), but he finds an elderly taxidermist (Abdolrahman Bagheri) who agrees only because he needs the money for an ill child. Yet the old man gently pleads with him to choose life, to embrace the joys of earthly existence, to remember the taste of cherries. Though initially greeted with critical acclaim, A Taste of Cherry received poor distribution in the U.S. The meandering, deliberately paced drama is composed of long conversations and long silences, and the camera is locked in the car for entire sequences, staring at the protagonists in still closeups with the dusty landscape rolling past the windows of the Land Rover in the background. Kiarostami's film is not for everyone, but if you can embrace the quiet power and grace of his deceptively simple style, the film becomes a remarkably rich celebration of human dignity and resilience. By the astonishing conclusion we can see past Badi's age-etched face to the soul peering out from behind his sad eyes. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry is an emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran-searching for someone to rescue or bury him. Criterion is proud to present the DVD premiere of Taste of Cherry in a beautiful widescreen transfer.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that is also visual art Dec 23 2007
What a beautiful film! To me, it was not just about the theme (or the pace, which has cinematic purpose). The film will also appeal to people who like art - it reminded me of Tarkovsky in this respect (especially like his `Mirror'). One of the memorable scenes in Taste of Cherry is where the protagonist watches a sunset, where instead of the scene gradually fading and the sun disappearing, the scene fades,but the sun stays like a fiery orange dot in a black background....a foreboding of events to come. Also memorable is the last scene where the man lies in the pit to await death on a night with thunderstorms, and his face is sporadically illuminated by lightning.
People who are looking for `messages' will not like this film - it has to be watched as one would watch a piece of art or an art installation,without preconceived notions of how films should be.
Kiarostami is brilliant at filming scenes inside cars and all the actors are very good.
Funny - if you go by the subtitles in the DVD, the film title should be `Taste of Mulberry'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Riding in cars with strangers June 6 2004
By A Customer
The customer reviewers who grew impatient with the car ride in Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherries must be stuck in the "are we there yet?" element of childhood rather than in its openness to impression. I liked the advice of reviewer Achilles Kyriakopoulos just to "concentrate on what you see." Submerse yourself in what you see and understanding will follow. Surrendering to the (always sumptuous) visual in Kiarostami's movies yields powerful insights into our complicated species.
We bound along dirt roads in his car with Bari, the central character, on a strange mission through the white dust of the bleached outskirts of Tehran and the red dust of the barren countryside. No juiciness, greenness, or comfort in the prospects for this ride. Why should there be? Bari has none.
Bari, looking for someone to help him complete the last stage of a mission, is picking up strangers and making an unusual proposal to them. When they hear it, the rising, naive fear of a young soldier, the creature simplicity of a plastic bag collector, and the compassionate inexperience of a seminary student are reflected in the faces of these men. Bari is asking to have some earth shoveled over him after his suicide. The soldier runs away in plain horror; the plastic-bag man, who seems rendered imbecile by poverty, sticks to collecting inventory for sale to support his family; and the seminary student escapes through his theology.
What can you do when you're watching the film and are thus stuck in the car with this man Bari? Stop watching? Grieve that he's past being moved by the human graces we encounter on the road-the beliefs and commitments, the lending hands, the cups of tea offered out of courtesy or fellow-loneliness?
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3.0 out of 5 stars an interesting film April 21 2004
By Ted
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film explores the ethics of suicide from an Islamic standpoint. It surpirsed me initialy that Iranian films were allowed to be shown in the US given the current sanctions with their government. Interestingly, the Iranian government's censorship of films is more relaxed than I expected. (Though the opening koranic verse is shown on the screen before the film starts)
The Farsi/Persian name of the film is Ta'm e guilass. The film itsel is directed by Abbas Kiarostami. The story deals with a man who intends to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills, who drives around looking for someone to go to a spot the next day to see if he is still alive and bury him if he is dead or take him home if he survives. The people he asks to help him try to talk him out of doing himself in.
The DVD has a theatrical trailer, filmography of the director and an interview with the director for special features.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Squandered Potential Dec 23 2003
The basic skeleton of this movie (guy looking for help with his suicide plan) has huge philosophical and spiritual potential. However, this movie delivers almost nothing of what it could have. I guess the director wants to leave all of the thinking to the audience. What it left me thinking is, "Why does Mr. Badii want to kill himself?" Another thing I was left thinking was, "Why are they wasting so much time showing Mr. Badii driving around?"
This movie would have been great if it had only been half an hour, because there is at least one hour of this film devoted to showing a truck driving around.
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5.0 out of 5 stars TASTE OF IRAN May 25 2003
This was the first Iranian film I ever saw. I always had a lot of respect for the Iranian culture but after the Shah there was not much around. The Islam revolutionaries were more into distruction of culture than into developing one. When I saw this film for the first time (I saw it for three times by now) I had many questions. When I saw it for the second time I had even more questions. And only on the third time I could understand questions I had before.
I rated this film five stars. Why? I had to realise the problems experienced by the producers and the actors while filming it. I could understand the budget problems and not judge to harshly. I could see it all and not to care about it considering the situation. This is a good film all around and it represents the good side of Iran. Thank you and please make more good movies.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Original Poetic
This is not a film for everyone! I would call it director's film. Original, complex, mind challanging and cinematographically beautiful.
Published on Dec 11 2002 by sia sanati
5.0 out of 5 stars atmospheric masterpiece of earth and dust
This internationally acclaimed visual masterpiece by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami may leave you bored if you demand explosions, car chases, or a strong narrative in your... Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2002 by "purplo"
5.0 out of 5 stars This film should be appreciated
As I read the reviews of this film, I found there are two groups of viewers, one appreciated the film, the other finds it boring and tedious. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2002 by Robert Chaochen Chen
5.0 out of 5 stars HOW IRAN LOOKS TODAY?
Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami is taking you for a ride around Teheran through his hero in the movie Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi). Read more
Published on May 19 2002 by A. KIRIAKOPOULOS
1.0 out of 5 stars How is this worthy of being in the Criterion Collection
If there was a deep meaning in this film, then I missed it entirely. After the first ten minutes of driving and talking I was bored. Read more
Published on April 8 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not just that this is slow...
It's not just that this is slow-- some of the greatest films of all time (Dreyer, Bresson, Ozu) are extremely deliberate in their pacing, the better to concentrate the viewer on... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2002 by Michael Gebert
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as ditchwater and about as deep.
A large portion of the running time of A Taste of Cherry--perhaps the majority--is footage of a guy driving around in his car. You think I'm kidding? Watch the movie, I dare you. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2001 by Joe Gola
I cannot believe this film shared the Palm d'Or with the much better Japanese film, "The Eel," in 1997. Read more
Published on May 7 2001
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