I did not know what to expect from Taste of Cherry, and I got more than I should have got. European and American cinema sure have plenty of gems when it comes to directors and movies, but from time to time it is good to switch cultures and see what other countries can do.
Did you know that Iran does movies? Every time I hear about an Arabic country is either linked with petrol or war. It is such a shame that the public does not hear about something else! I am sure that there are more things worth reading or watching coming from these countries, so today I am going to show you one movie that left me thinking for some good hours.
This movie is called Taste of Cherry, and the director is none other than Abbas Kiarostami. If you have not heard about him, maybe you know his other movies: Close-up, Where’s My Friend House? or The Wind Will Carry Us. Still does not ring a bell? Don’t worry, it is okay.
Unlike other movies, this one goes into the universal psyche whilst still maintaining certain themes that might be better understood if you know something about Iranian culture or history. Not too much though, you might check some stuff later.
What it is so good about it?
It is hard to make this review now that I think about it. I will not go into this section too much into the plot, as it might give some major spoilers. However, if you feel more comfortable knowing some details about Taste of Cherry, here’s a sentence: a middle-aged man tries to convince people whilst driving to do something for him.
#1st thing: minimalism
This is as minimalist as you can wish. I love movies that are made as simple as possible because they seem more realistic and natural. Working and thinking this way truly helps you bring out the essence of things. Not that I am against more elaborate techniques (I love some movies that are made like that too), but sometimes they get too over the top and false.
In this movie, the minimalist technique enables you to get into the movie as a character. To feel that you are one of the protagonist’s passengers. Or might find yourself in the situation of one of the characters.
#2nd thing: the acting
The lead actor made an astounding job to illustrate the transformation of a man from the beginning till the end of the movie. It feels so compelling to see how someone transforms throughout a movie, and actually feels what he is saying despite getting mentally exhausted with every second.
The other actors did a great job too taking into consideration that they were normal people, not amateurs or real actors. It seemed like they felt every line that they were saying. The last dialogue is so powerful that I’m curious if people weren’t chosen because they could relate to the script.
#3rd thing: the visuals
Image this: a Range Rover, the road of sand, different houses, and the sky. And every frame a lovely still. The lighting, the fog, the sun, the sunset, the sunrise, the rocks all wrapped up into one. Sounds pretty relaxing, right? Here is how it looks:
#4th thing: the driving
This is a rather funny aspect, but the actor sure had some driving skills. It was the smoothest ride I’ve ever seen. It felt comfy, soothing and secure. Every move on the steering wheel was so calculated and easily made that I thought I was there. Literally, I feel like I’ve traveled with the protagonist and the other characters.
What is not so good about it?
This is one of those movies of which I might think for some good hours, and still not find a really negative thing about it.Taste of Cherry is just good as it wanted to be, and how it should be. Not a fancy story, not a mind-blowing story, not even a story if I think about it, just a movie about things that happen and pass.
And could this be the flaw? For some people, as far as I’m concerned, it might be. Not everyone wants to watch a movie where nothing but dialogue happens. Where you get no reason, no justification, and no real conclusion. Perhaps the lack of a traditional story might be a disadvantage.
But I wholeheartedly recommend you to watch Taste of Cherry. It is a 1h40mins soothing film where you can let yourself be immersed in it. Empathize with the character, and pay attention to the dialogue. I hope you’ll have a pleasant watching!