Ta'm e guilass (Taste of Cherry)

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Written on 6:03 PM by Hemanth Kumar


Title: Ta'm e guilass (Taste of Cherry)
Language: Persian
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Actor: Homayon Ershadi
Awards: Palme d'Or in Cannes Film Festival, 1997

This was my first tryst with Persian movies and I have no words for Kiarostami's concept of cinema! Found it too difficult to understand, perhaps a good enough reason to accept that Cinema has too many layers...maybe it means more than what we understand at one go! This is definitely one of those movies, where you would want something to happen...but not sure what. You would want the film to end, because you don't see a point in what's going on....but at the same time, wonder why it's going on.

The plot basically deals with a man named Badii, who's driving near the hills of Tehran, always looking for something, with a purpose of his own. He interacts with few people while travelling across the terrains and asks them to come along with him on an errand for which he will be paying a lot of money. Some people agree and when they finally get to the spot where Mr. Badii takes them, they are shattered at his request. One of them runs away on hearing this request, another is too flabbergasted and starts quoting the verses in Kuran which says it's a Sin to do such a thing. The request which Badii makes to them is,....." You see that small hole there under the tree....I am going to lie down in that hole and commit suicide tonight. All you have to do is come the next morning at 6 and see if I am dead. If I am alive, please pull me back otherwise, throw earth on my dead body."!!!!....And finally he meets a person named Bagheri,who gives him a personal account of what happened to him and how the taste of mulberries changed his life...(extremely symbolic!!)...and the story ends with what happens to Mr. Badii at the end.

Personally, I think this was an extremely difficult movie to understand because although it seems very simplistic that there's a man who wants to die and wants someone to be there by his side...it's the journey that makes us ponder lot of things. Why does he want to die? Why doesn't he stop by an average person on the streets of Tehran and take them along with him?...at one point, after he convinces a young Kurd to come along with him...he gives his explanation of how it's the duty of every Muslim to help his fellow Muslim....he questions the Kurd's beliefs. I guess that's what the movie is about...it questions your beliefs...it makes you wonder why is he doing, what he is doing??...Nevertheless...this 90 minute movie depicts a wonderful landscape of the arid mountains and the signs of development in the city. Most of the scenes are shot from within the car, so that gives a clear picture of his journey of Mr.Badii....he's so emotionless in the movie!!...no anger, no pain...just blankness which makes you wonder, what had happened in his life which has made him what he is now....

To be honest all these questions came to my mind only after finishing the movie...because all through the movie i was cursing the pace at which the story is told....and why the hell does he drive the car so slow!!!..[:)]..This is one of those movies, which will most probably be shown in some "Film Studies" course and thereafter a discussion would ensue about the theme. And I think, not many people are capable of coming up with such concepts and even if they do, I wonder how long the movie would stand! This is one of those films, which is too subtle and only reveals itself if one thinks more and more about it. Perhaps that's why one should watch it...because it makes you think. Call it boring or...too boring, it still remains a mystery and I end up wondering how someone is able to come up with such a storyline!!....

Subtle, extremely symbolic and a theme which questions one's beliefs....taste this cherry, maybe you will find the new definition of Taste (Read as Taste of Cinema)....!!!

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