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Critics reviews
Taste of Cherry
Abbas Kiarostami Iran, 1997
Cinephiles love to talk about the thrill of pure cinema – the jolting joy of the spectacle that only the medium of film can give us. Some find it in Alfred Hitchcock, others find it in Andy Warhol. I found it in the last place I expected it to be: in the difference, the transition between the two final scenes in Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry.
July 01, 2015
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Part of the appeal of a film like Taste of Cherry — Abbas Kiarostami’s minimalist masterpiece, all white-canvas stretches of silence and inaction — lies in its openness to interpretation, in how it invites us to invest meaning in it rather than simply extract the meaning imposed upon it. Minimalism is about encouraging reflection, on form and content both, but Taste of Cherry in particular betrays a deeper understanding of self-reflexivity.
May 28, 2015
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This is one of the great big-screen experiences, comparable in its effect to L’ECLISSE or 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Like those films, Abbas Kiarostami’s Palme d’Or winner confronts some of the essential questions of existence; while Kiarostami’s approach may be more modest than Antonioni’s or Kubrick’s, the poetic simplicity of TASTE OF CHERRY assumes a monumental quality when projected.
April 08, 2011
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My main issue with the film was in the performance of the lead. He is mainly seen in profile, as he drives along – and I just didn’t feel the underlying despair at all. We are never given a reason for why he is suicidal. We don’t know anything about Mr. Badii, and I’m not saying I needed it spelled out for me (“My wife died. Therefore I am suicidal”) – but give me something.
April 20, 2008
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The film’s penultimate sequence is excruciating. Kiarostami’s camera stays close to Badii, the dirt walls of his potential tomb hanging ominously at the edges of the frame. Lightning flashes, thunder cracks, darkness envelops (the exact opposite journey of Birth of Light) and we are left, as Godfrey Cheshire has observed, “utterly alone with ourselves.” It’s disconcerting, devastating.
March 06, 2007
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If Kiarostami is implying through [the taxidermist] that life is worth living because of sensual pleasure (the taste of cherries) or because of human relationships (his family), then the film doesn’t really work for me. But hearing the taxidermist’s “tidy” story sandwiched between the conversation with the seminarian and the coda makes it all much more interesting and impressive. It’s that dialogue between faith, humanism, and (possibly) aesthetics that speaks to me personally.
August 08, 2001
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A simple idea, almost an Aesopian tale, but one that branches off into complex dimensions and sub-themes relating to the human condition, the legitimacy of the act of suicide, and many other meanings.
September 12, 2000
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Kiarostami creates a visually austere and serenely contemplative examination of life in A Taste of Cherry: the unchanging, barren scenery outside the car window; the desolate, winding roads leading to the burial plot; the suffocating dust of the construction site. The barren, almost monochromatic landscape serves as a metaphor for the isolation of the soul.
January 01, 2000
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The film will leave no sympathetic viewer becalmed in mere cinephilic admiration. In its penultimate scene, when the figure we’ve identified all along is lying completely still, apparently heading into a darkness both literal and figurative, we’re left utterly alone with ourselves, with our own deepest feelings about the profoundly simple thing that, above all, this film wants us to sense, to savor, to taste: life. And nothing more.
May 31, 1999
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Characteristically, Kiarostami’s Palme d’Or winner is low on narrative drive, slowly but steadily revealing more and more information, visual and verbal, until we are totally caught up in his protagonist’s psychological and ethical dilemma.
June 03, 1998
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Few films are more attentive to the poignancy of time passing and the slow fading of daylight, so that everyday details over the day’s progress—from field workers cheerfully lifting Badii’s car out of a rut to a bulldozer emptying dirt and rocks, from a plane’s wispy exhaust trail in the sky to a glimpse of schoolchildren running around a track—register increasingly as small signs and epiphanies in an existence that’s about to be extinguished.
May 29, 1998
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I am not entirely unmoved by the nobility and grandiosity of Mr. Kiarostami’s self-proclaimed humanist mission, but his restricted mode of expression is much too rigorously pure for my taste.
March 23, 1998
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