10 on Ten
Iran/France, 2004, DCP, color, 88 min.
Persian and English with English subtitles.
Rather than simply a behind-the-scenes commentary on Ten, Kiarostami offers a fascinating master class on his “self-taught” filmmaking philosophy and techniques. Driving around in Taste of Cherry territory with camera mounted on the dash, the occasionally tongue-in-cheek director extolls the virtues of small digital cameras, reveals his scriptwriting methods (“Who can write dialogue for a worker other than an illiterate worker?”), details his direction of non-actors (“People aren’t as good as they are in real life”), and explains why the car is his favorite location. He speaks at length on the formal, conceptual and ethical aspects of his filmmaking decisions with quotable aphorisms, colorful metaphors, anecdotes and poetry. Opposed to simply “captivating” the viewer, he stresses the importance of profound engagement. “Is cinema about storytelling or about reality? Break reality, reassemble it and get something different from everyday reality…” By collaborating with “reality,” Kiarostami encourages audiences to also collaborate, and perhaps reveal truths that may be difficult to see otherwise.