The Taste of Cheery

Taste of Cherry – Abbas Kiarostami

The movie begins with Mr. Badii moving around in his car, observing people here and there and then randomly or may be not so randomly trying to start conservation with them and in the end offering them some money for a small job. Initially he picks up guy who, surprised, thwarts him away. Then there’s another manual worker with whom he talks a bit but has to leave him in the end too. then he makes a sepoy board his car but after some talk he runs away too after he says that he needs to come, at some place that he shows him, 6 in the dawn, near a hole that he showed and then after confirming whether he’s alive or not has to put 20 shovels of soil o him in the hole. Mr. Badii then finds another person, a seminarist, who listens to him promisingly before trying to preach him a bit from Koran. Badii ultimately leaves him also though he didn’t reject the offer, but didn’t accept also.

Moving ahead Badii then finds an old man who after accepting his offer narrates an incident of his, also trying to commit suicide. He says, once after deciding to end his life he went out in his car with a rope. After reaching a tree he climbed up, as he couldn’t throw the rope over. After reaching he felt some thing soft in his hands. It was a mulberry tree. He ate one, then 2nd and then third. Meanwhile few children passed the tree and upon seeing him up there they asked him to shake the tree. Which he did and then they all ate the mulberries. Then he took some mulberries and went home, and then his wife ate them too and liked them too much. He sang one poem too and kept on talking till they reached his place. Badii who was listening nonchalantly then tries to confirm if he’s still up to the job to which he says he is. Badii after taking his leave again comes back to him to say him to make sure he’s dead before shoveling the soil in by throwing two stones(to kill him) to which he replies, he will throw three and then walks back.

Last scene is of Badii lying in the hole, face up which is after every moment or two is visible in the dark because of lightning. The movie then curiously ends with the scene showing the crew, the director and the actor.

Kiarostami is known for his plotless, unpretentious cinema, treading philosophical themes. He tries involving audience whose stereotypical thoughts he challenges and makes him imaginatively participates. Talking about the movie neither revealed are the reasons for Badii wanting to commit suicide, nor the reasons for that old man accepting to carry out Badii’s wish. What’s more important here is one’s desire and decision for committing suicide and not the reason. Will his desire be respected? The three men he meets present three different outlooks of life and their three different views on suicide. The movie moves slow with close takes on the faces of the people mainly as most of the scenes take place in the car Badii’s driving.

Few links: NYT’s article, at Rotten Tomatoes, Criterion’s Essay.


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