Curator's Note

Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home (1987), Life, and Nothing More (1992) and Through the Olive Trees (1994) came to be fondly grouped together as the Koker trilogy, though this is not something that he formally planned. Koker, a small village in Iran’s Gilan Province along the coastline of the Caspian Sea, devastated by the 1990s earthquakes, is where the trilogy was shot. Kiarostami resisted this classification because he thought that these films shared the location by accident. He preferred Life and Nothing More (1992) Through the Olive Trees (1994) and Taste of Cherry (1998) be clustered together for their thematic affinity representing instability and unpredictability of human lives and people’s courage to deal with their respective precariousness. Each film of the Koker Trilogy is about a quest. They celebrate life and extraordinary feats of ordinary people. Where’s the Friend’s Home is about a young boy’s journey to find his friend’s home to return a notebook that he brought home from school by mistake. It is a tale of extraordinary courage, heroism, sense of civic duty, human bonding and empathy. Life, and Nothing More is the quest of a filmmaker and his son looking for people who acted in his last film, Where’s the Friend’s Home, through a devastated countryside, badly affected by a recent earthquake. Through the Olive Trees is the pursuit of a young couple struggling in their effort to come to terms with their complex context. These films are bound to one another by intertextual references in such a way that a complete understanding of one film is impossible without watching others. Kiarostami’s films demand active engagement from spectators, not only with the film’s diegetic world but also with the film as a medium. I feel this very tendency to take his spectators in confidence in structuring and weaving a consciousness about the viewing experience of the visual fiction, creates a special spiritual interactivity between the film maker and the audience. He makes a meticulous effort to keep the audience’s attention constantly on the medium. His films provide an intensively immersive experience in the sense that one knows that one is watching a film, yet the filming process itself is designed to blur the boundaries of the diegetic and nondiegetic. I argue that this carefully designed conflict between the diegetic and nondiegetic, between the reality and fictional, is a marker of all films of the Kiarostami oeuvre.

Add new comment

Log in or register to add a comment.