Through the Olive Trees
Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, the final instalment in the Koker trilogy is a comic and wildly meta examination of class and romance set amid the rubble of the 1990 earthquake.
Hossein (Hossein Rezai) wants to marry Tahereh (Tahereh Ladanian) but he’s poor and doesn’t have a house. Believing that the natural disaster has levelled the classes, he’s heartbroken when the girl’s grandmother snaps at him, ‘Are you blind? Don’t you see the steel beams going up and that everything will go back to normal?’.
But when a filmmaker (Mohammad Ali Keshavarz) comes to town to make a fictionalised version of And Life Goes On... (1992), Hossein and Tahereh are cast as newlyweds, and Hossein sees a chance to change his fate.
Throughout his career, Kiarostami’s work was criticised in some quarters for its largely apolitical stance but reflecting on this he said, ‘I’m only allowed to talk about human beings, and human beings aren’t separate from social realities. Through one character, or human being, I can reach certain truths.’
Using the film’s wildly meta structure, Kiarostami achieves a politics of stealth, illuminating the complex social structures and inequities which have survived both the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 1990 earthquake, all under the guise of simply making a movie.
‘Unequalled in its delicacy, beauty and truth’ – The Independent
Notes by Kristy Matheson – Director of Film, ACMI
See more films and season passes (all 6 films or the Koker trilogy) in our The Films of Abbas Kiarostami program
Presented by the NFSA in partnership with ACMI and the Sydney Film Festival.
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