Through the Olive Trees, written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
The Iranian Cinema has produced a good number of masterpieces.
I have noted recently on Blackboards, but there are also:
- A Separation rated at 109 on the IMDB top rated films list, About Elly, The Past and this year’s sensation and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film- The Salesman, all created by the same genius:
- Asghar Farhadi
The director of Through the Olive Trees is the late, acclaimed Abbas Kiarostami.
He has been the director and writer of such wonders as:
- Taste of Cherry, Close- Up, The Wind Will Carry Us
Through the Olive Trees seems to some extent a version of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo has no Montague family to stay in the way of his happiness.
He has no family at all.
And then Juliet does not care for this Iranian Romeo.
Or at least she does not say a word about it.
And maybe Romeo compensates for all this with his incredible resilience and grit.
Another take on this romance would be that it is just infatuation.
Given the conditions in the conservative countryside, there is no communication between man and girl.
Or it is so limited as to be like nonexistent.
And the young man, called Hossein, could well desire the girl.
But this is not really love.
And once he has the impression that she has him fired from his job, the obstinacy with which he wants to win could be misinterpreted.
He may believe he loves Tahereh, but it is just a confused mind, unable to distinguish between feelings.
The film is unique in quite a few ways.
It is produced in an area which had just gone through a terrible earthquake which killed a multitude of people.
The actors are actually amateurs and Hossein plays himself, Tahereh does the same, the head of production Mrs. Shiva is, well, Mrs. Shiva.
When they talk about dead relatives, it is their own family that they speak of and the tragedy is not acted.
They all have a genuine, innocent and naïve presence, with some of them endowed with a certain charm.
There is also humor involved, for instance in scenes between Hossein and Tahereh, with the latter not giving the required reply.
The man complains that he says hello, as the script requires, but he gets no greeting and the director understands there had been something between the two before they started filming.
One actor is tried out before Hossein and he comes with a weight and when he approaches Tahereh he does not say the line…
- Why is that? Asks the director…when we rehearsed with you, you knew the line
- I stutter when I see a woman…
On the way to the film set, the head of production is driving, but the road is blocked by bricks and cars in the middle of the access way.
The man who is near this blockage is asked about the problem and he suggests that Hossein, who is in the car, could help.
But this is an actor, not someone you use for menial, low work and he makes that hilarious point clear:
Hossein: Mam, I'm really sorry. I want to do everything you ask me, but I won't do masonry. I don't work in construction anymore. I came to act in your film. I will work as an actor, but not as a mason.