Scenes by the sea – Five by Kiarostami

Just back from seeing Abbas Kiarostami’s 2003 film ‘Five’. It’s dedicated to Ozu, which is what attracted me to it in the first place, though it was high time that I saw one of Kiarostami’s films anyway. No dialogue, a mostly static camera, five short movements that seem like they’re each done in a single take (though apparently this isn’t the case), all set on the shores of the Caspian Sea – it doesn’t offer up a statement of meaning. Maybe the meaning is whatever you want it to be… But I came away with a sense of the connectedness of things – ducks passing are like people passing, the moon in rippling water looks like an egg. Confirmation that the sound of heavy rain – and even more, distant thunder – is one of the most evocative sounds there is. And the contemplation of time, of course, that old enigma (time and tide…). Things slow down in this picture, or rather happen at the pace of real life. Did we just witness one day? Or a lifetime? The date onscreen at the end (November 2003) made it seem like a diary, of a time of thoughtfulness. I’ve seen the film compared to a haiku – maybe this is it: apparently  simple, beautifully constructed and with the resonance of truth.

PS Kiarostami died earlier this year. The film was introduced by Geoff Andrew, who was a close friend of the director, so it felt quite a personal and poignant screening. I’m happy to have finally seen some of Kiarostami’s work.

PPS Although there purely as a link between scenes, the short extracts of music in the film were also intriguing!





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