Taste of Cherry (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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'.
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?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film explores the ethics of suicide from an Islamic standpoint. Read more
The basic skeleton of this movie (guy looking for help with his suicide plan) has huge philosophical and spiritual potential. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2003 by Imran Currah
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. Read morePublished on May 25 2003 by Boris Zubry
This is not a film for everyone! I would call it director's film. Original, complex, mind challanging and cinematographically beautiful.Published on Dec 10 2002 by sia sanati
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 morePublished on Nov. 26 2002
Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami is taking you for a ride around Teheran through his hero in the movie Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi). Read morePublished on May 18 2002 by A. KIRIAKOPOULOS
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 morePublished on April 8 2002
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 morePublished on Feb. 1 2002 by Michael Gebert
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 morePublished on Dec 26 2001 by Joe Gola