Having only seen one other Abbas Kiarostami film, I can’t say that I had expectations heading into this one. Once it started, though, it was like the film had met them, even though they realistically didn’t exist. The Wind Will Carry Us is the only Kiarostami film to be removed from later editions of the list, and as I’ve been finding out lately, that is usually for a good reason, so despite my enjoying Taste of Cherry, I went into this with some trepidation. I needn’t have worried; this was so like the previous film it made me wonder why Kiarostami even bothered to make multiple films at all, but by the end it was still worth the investment.
Pretty much as soon as the film began, I knew I was watching a Kiarostami film. This had the exact same look and feel as Taste of Cherry; hyper-realistic cinematography, that captures an enamoring sense of the barren landscape of the country, and even the opening was almost exactly the same, featuring the main character in a car driving around a winding road toward his destination. Where Wind differs is that the car eventually stops, and the man gets out, to spend some time in a nearby village, for reasons that are initially left murky. Once the film has started, also, it never seemed to cut any length of time; there’s a recurring segment (I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it a gag) where the main character gets a call on his cell phone, and has to run to his car to drive up a nearby hill for better reception. Each time this happens in the film, we see him running to the car, getting in, and driving the whole way, whereas any other film would only show this the first time and then truncate it for the next few times. Kiarostami doesn’t do that (apparently, he must really like footage of people driving cars), and it’s one of several things about the film that can easily irritate the average viewer. My best advice is to prepare for a Kiarostami film before you start one; don’t just dive into it and brace yourself. Know what you’re getting into, and if you still want to get into it, you’ll like what Kiarostami has to offer.
All in all, The Wind Will Carry Us shows that Kiarostami is a modern-day neorealist at the top of his game. The only problem is, his game isn’t exactly what many others would like to play. It’s sort of like being pushed into playing a game you didn’t really want to play to begin with; to start, you’re confused and reticent, then you get used to it, and once you have, by the end you realize you’ve enjoyed the experience. I’ll admit, though, it’s a tough one to get through, and it really feels longer than it should be, thanks to the film’s method of never cutting extraneous action. Still, I’ve found that Kiarostami can be very rewarding when (or if) you decide to take a chance on him, so with that, I can give a pretty good recommendation to those open to exploring other facets of world cinema. I haven’t seen the other two Kiarostami films on the list, so I can’t say whether or not this should’ve stayed rather than one of them, or whether this is one of his best, but it’s certainly up there.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10
I’d be interested in knowing how Kiarostami names his films. I know this is a reference to a famous Iranian poem (which the main character recites at one point), but I didn’t know if it had any place in the film at all, or what. It’ll be fun trying to ferret out the reasoning behind the other titles I haven’t gotten to yet.