Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. France/Iran/USA, 2002. Abbas Kiarostami Productions, Key Lime Productions, MK2 Productions. Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami. Cinematography by Abbas Kiarostami. Produced by Marin Karmitz, Abbas Kiarostami. Film Editing by Vahid Ghazi, Abbas Kiarostami, Bahman Kiarostami. Cannes Film Festival 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Two cameras are set up in a Tehran woman’s car in an effort to naturally observe her day to day life with family and friends. Featuring only two perspectives, one shot of the driver and one of the passenger, the film was made with mostly nonprofessional actors and improvised dialogue, director Abbas Kiarostami having very little interference except to edit between the two camera angles. The setup behind making this film is just so highly stylized and meaningful that it veers well into the realm of pretentious: setting up a camera in someone’s car who isn’t an actor and isn’t speaking dialogue isn’t a film, it’s eavesdropping, and if the characters weren’t from a culture completely different from the cushy western one I am from, the experience of it would be an absolute bore. Instead, it’s a learning experience that could never be confused with entertainment (even for the art house genre) but might offer some moments of interest to those who want to know more about life in Iran, particularly for women.