زیر درختان زیتون / Zīr-e derakhtān-e zeytūn / Zire darakhtan zeyton / Oliivipuiden katveessa / Under olivträden / Au travers les oliviers. IR 1994. PC: Ciby 2000 (France). D+SC+ED: Abbas Kiarostami. CIN: Hossein Djafarian, Farhad Saba. C: Mohammad-Ali Keshavarz (film director) Hossein Rezai (Hossein), Tahereh Ladanian (Tahereh), Farhad Kheradmand (Farhad), Zarifeh Shiva (Mrs. Shiva), Hocine Redai (Hocine), Zahra Nourouzi (Kouly's daughter), Nasret Betri (Achiz), Azim Aziz Nia (Azim), Astadouli Babani (teacher), N. Boursadiki (Tahra), Kheda Barech Defai (teacher), Ahmed Ahmedpour (Ahmed Ahmedpour), Babek Ahmedpour (Babek Ahmedpour). Released in Sweden by Folkets Bio with Swedish subtitles by My-Text. 103 min
Closing music: Concerto C 4. Allegro Giusto by Domenico Cimarosa performed by Heinz Holliger.
Viewed with e-subtitles in Finnish by Lena Talvio at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Abbas Kiarostami), 31 Jan 2017.
Revisited the final entry in Abbas Kiarostami's Koker trilogy. After the Koker earthquake Kiarostami visited the location of his film Where Is the Friend's Home? to find out whether the actors of his masterpiece had survived. The journey resulted in the film And Life Goes On... Through the Olive Trees is a story of two young amateur actors in that second film. Hossein is in love with Tahereh who gives no response.
Why so many films about Koker? "When you find a treasure it pays to keep digging at the same spot" (Kiarostami).
The earthquake has profoundly shocked everyone, including Hossein who has lost 25 relatives, and Tahereh, who has lost her parents. Hossein is poor and uneducated. Tahereh comes from a good family and is getting well educated while Hossein cannot even read or write.
I confess that I did not see the greatness of this movie on first viewing. I found my way to the genius of Kiarostami through other films such as Close-Up, The Traveller, Ten, and, my favourite, Ten on Ten.
Better late than never. Through the Olive Trees is an organic whole. Again there is a narrative that is deceptively slight, but actually the film is about the biggest things in life. The film keeps growing until it reaches a brilliant, elliptic climax.
After the end of the shooting of the film within the film the actors are waiting in a truck to be transported. Tahereh, impatient, decides to walk home. The film director urges Hossein to follow. There is a long walk through the olive trees. Hossein gives a long and impassionate monologue of proposal to Tahereh who does not react in any way. She never says "no" either. Hossein remains at the bottom of a hill while Tahereh zigzags the path to the top. He runs after her and sees her already down in the valley on the path between the trees (see the poster image above). He runs zigzagging down the hill after her, and the camera stays on top. There is a long take and a long shot as we see the tiny dots of Hossein and Tahereh all but disappearing in the distance. Then we see Hossein running, taking a short cut, to fetch the things he had left on the top of the hill to reach Tahereh faster.
We do not know what has happened but clearly there is a note of hope.
A good film print with a vivid colour world.