Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I've Just Seen: Taste of Cherry (1997)

Taste of Cherry (Ta'm e Guilass) (1997)

Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Writer: Abbas Kiarostami
Notable Actors: Homayon Ershadi

This reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan: a man, who is in distress, encounters three different people on his journey; each reacts in a telling manner to his predicament. Mr Badii, the protagonist, wants to commit suicide, and needs someone to come and see if he succeeds. The first, a young man doing his National Service, is utterly scared and runs off. The second, a man studying at a seminary, refuses to help because it goes against his beliefs. He does say he is sympathetic, but offers no more support than to say what Badii wants to do is against God. The third agrees to help Badii, but also attempts to talk him out of it, arguing in favour of the small pleasures of life being worth living for. The title refers to this idea: the taste of mulberries is what changed the third man's mind about ending his own life. He asks Badii to imagine never tasting a cherry again.

This is a quiet film, and not to everyone's taste. But I found it rather compelling, and have been thinking about it a lot since watching it. It is shot in an unflashy way, letting the landscape of outer Tehran slowly glide across the screen. This is contrasted with medium close-ups of the characters inside Badii's car, emphasising the universality of this specific tale.

1 comment:

  1. The night before my final exam in '98 my friends at university took me out to the cinema to watch this movie. I did not really get it. Near the end the movie turns to black, light goes uo in the cinema then down again, the movie continues, but in different colors. We see the crew, the actors smoking cigarets and we are clearly on the set. The music is lively New Orleans stuff, so different from the preceeding movie and then the film finally stops. What on Earth was that? Everybody in the cinema looks stunned. And then we start laughing. We cannot stop for half an hour, this is just hilarious. To this day that is how I remember this film.