Movie Review – Taste of Cherry

Posted: March 30, 2014 in Movie Reviews
Tags: ,

It was during my earlier stages of venturing into art movies that I watched this movie. Back then I liked this movie but wasn’t able to tell exactly why. ‘Exactly why,’ I don’t know whether even now I’d be able to tell but I’d definitely able to tell why. I even distinctly remember Pandi pulling my leg calling this a bad movie. He never really said that but said it in a way. I remember even Ebert had not liked the movie. My first source of liking would start from him. Every time I see him giving high stars I’d say the movie is good, and start looking a way to find what all its good and the opposite happens if he has given less stars. Taste of Cherry is the first movie which was liked by me which was not in Ebert’s good books.

taste of cherry

Abbas Kiarsotami being a painter shows everything in first person. We see a lot of close up shots and after some time we forget that they are close ups and view movie like we do for any other movie. Those shots become pretty normal. For the shots which doesn’t involve Mr Badii (a brilliant Homayon Ershadii) we see the other persons in the way he sees them. They are again close ups. And everyone in the film looks at you. It creates an illusion that they are trying to pierce out of the screen and choke you.

For the scenes not involving close up shots we generals see tracking shots of the truck moving here and there. In fact other than the scene involving the soldiers we generally don’t see a scene which doesn’t involve the truck. All are these scene are pure landscape shots which are beautiful in its own way in spite of the road covered in dust.

Those roads reminded me of the Spiti journey. There was a road which I took to go to Kaza from Sarahan. That was the best part of the journey which had muddy roads like this. And when Badii’s truck gets into the side road a string of people come together immediately and help it with a lot of happiness. Guess all mountain people are same.

But the way all these people close in, it creates panic. And every time some outsider looks at Mr Badii they are again extreme close up shots which creates a sense of panic among us viewer. Most of these shots seem to have been shot without the people being informed. All these people come and ask Mr Badii something and go away smiling as if they’ve seen something funny inside the car, may be a camera or something.

Other than the obvious brilliance in camera work one more important thing to notice is the sound editing. You even see the sound editors’ name appear while there is an increase in the background noise. When Mr Badii talks with his first acquaintance, a guy who takes all the plastic and liquidifies it for money, you see them talking and suddenly the trucks voice behind increases and then goes down. But they don’t wait to say things. They just increase their voice gradually as the trucks sound increases.

Even though this is a sad movie it’s not a pessimistic movie. This movie too gives you hope not like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but in a different kind of way. When the old man who finally agrees to bury Mr Badii says about how his life was changed it makes you get emotional. Only after that scene we see Badii coming to civilization. We see a lot of people and he becomes human too. Till that time he is confident about killing himself. Also he realizes the value of life and gets to panic all of a sudden.

He still continues with his decision to die and goes to the location where he is supposed to die but it’s left to us to wonder whether he’d or he’d not.

In spite of being a slow movie this movie keeps us guessing till the end. Not of how it’s going to end but what it’s going to be like. There is a constant tension which evolves with the film and that’s what is special.

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