|6:30 p.m.||Where Is the Friend’s Home?|
Abbas Kiarostami (Iran, 1987)
Kiarostami made three films—Where Is the Friend's Home?, And Life Goes On, and Through the Olive Trees—with denizens of the villages of Koker and Poshteh in what became earthquake-devastated northern Iran. Working with his actors in their own milieux, Kiarostami created layered, mercurial, funny, and only incidentally tragic characters. Each film stands on its own, but when seen as part of a trilogy, each succeeding film reveals the truth, which is to say the lies, of the last, as in the embedded layers of the traditional Persian art of storytelling.
(Khaneh-je doost kojast?). Inspired by a poem by Iranian philosopher Sohrab Sepehri, Where Is the Friend's Home? is a beautiful picture of the life of a child in a northern Iranian village—a child for whom an afternoon becomes an odyssey into and beyond the mysteries of adult behavior. Young Ahmad feels he must return an all-important notebook to his friend, Mohammad, who will be expelled from school if he shows up one more time without his homework. Defying his parents, Ahmad sets out to find his friend's home in the neighboring village. Continually derailed and misguided by conflicting directions from adults, he searches through winding alleys with identical-seeming houses, and covers the barren territory between the two villages over and over with Sisyphean inevitability and Keaton-like stoicism. In his caring and his wisdom, Ahmad casually defines what humanity might be if the wonder remained.
Where Is the Friend's Home? is repeated on Saturday, August 25.
• Written by Kiarostami. Photographed by Farhad Saba. With Babak Ahmadpour, Ahmad Ahmadpour, Khodabakhsh Defaie, Iran Otari. (87 mins, In Farsi with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, Permission Kanoon)