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Through the Olive Trees
(Zire darakhatan zeyton)

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
With Mohamad Ali Keshavarz, Farhad Kheradmand, Zarifeh Shiva.
Iran/France, 1994, DCP, color, 103 min.
Persian with English subtitles.
DCP source: Janus Films

The social status of filmmaking among ordinary people, central to Abbas Kiarostami’s wonderful Close-up and And Life Goes On…, is equally pertinent in this entertaining and sometimes beautiful film. Through the Olive Trees concludes a trilogy begun with Where Is the Friend’s House?, which focused on the adventures of a poor schoolboy in a mountainous region of northern Iran. And Life Goes On… […] fictionally recreated Kiarostami and his son’s return to the area, which had recently been devastated by an earthquake, to look for two child actors from the earlier film. Through the Olive Trees is a comedy about the making of a film, mostly emphasizing the persistent efforts of a young actor to woo an actress who won’t even speak to him. Like Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, all three films strategically elide certain information about the characters, inviting audiences to fill in the blanks and, in this case, yielding a mysteriously beautiful and open-ended conclusion. – Jonathan Rosenbaum

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