Monday, July 11, 2016

باد ما را خواهد برد The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)

Director: Abbas Kiarostami 
Writer:   Abbas Kiarostami
Cinematographer: Mahmoud Kayari
Cast:        Behzad Boranu
Language: Persian

A man and his team arrives in a Kurdish village from Tehran posing as telecom engineers. The purpose of their visit is not made clear to us but we know that it is related to the impending death of a woman who is more than 100 years old. As the wait turns out to be a long one, the protagonist who is called Engineer by the villagers, begins to be fascinated by the village life.

By the end of the film we piece together that they are journalists who are there to document a village ritual related to mourning. Engineer becomes friends with a local kid who is in the middle of his exams. There is not much of a plot to speak of and it is seemingly a very simple film with binaries of urban and rural, old and young, and modern and ancient. It takes a while to get into the film but when it does, it becomes a great watch. 

The title of the film comes from a poem by Forugh Farrokhzad.

"In my small night, ah
the wind has a date with the leaves of the trees
in my small night there is agony of destruction
do you hear the darkness blowing?
I look upon this bliss as a stranger
I am addicted to my despair.

listen do you hear the darkness blowing?
something is passing in the night
the moon is restless and red
and over this rooftop
where crumbling is a constant fear
clouds, like a procession of mourners
seem to be waiting for the moment of rain.
a moment
and then nothing
night shudders beyond this window
and the earth winds to a halt
beyond this window
something unknown is watching you and me.

O green from head to foot
place your hands like a burning memory
in my loving hands
give your lips to the caresses
of my loving lips
like the warm perception of being
the wind will take us
the wind will take us."

It was the follow-up film from Abbas Kiarostami after he won Palme d'Or at Cannes for 'Taste of Cherry'. What makes Kiarostami different from other Iranian filmmakers of his time is that he is much more European in his approach with existentialism being the common theme. This film is also not much different. I've only seen his later films beginning with 'Taste of Cherry' and I guess I've to catch up with his earlier works to see whether this is consistent throughout his career. Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is the contemporary one who very much carries the mantle from Kiarostami.

Rating: 4/5