Kiarostami’s observant eye for landscapes and people reaches its apotheosis here in this graceful, if sometimes elusive, meditation on life and mortality.
Cast: Behzad Dorani, Noghre Asadi, Roushan Karam Elmi
Plot: Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural Kurdish village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. While death hovers around the corner, Behzad gains perspectives on life and spirituality as he befriends the locals and experiences nature’s majesty, changing his own attitudes as a result.
Awards: Won Grand Special Jury Prize & FIPRESCI Prize (Venice)
International Sales: MK2
Subject Matter: Moderate – Mortality, Life and Living
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: General Arthouse
Fresh from the Cannes Palme d’Or-winning success of Taste of Cherry (1997), The Wind Will Carry Us would be the last of Abbas Kiarostami’s lyrical, landscapey features centering on stories and the people who live in the rural villages of Iran, before he switched his modus operandi mainly to a more experimental approach in the early 2000s with Ten (2002), as if the new century beckoned for a new philosophy to filmmaking.
Winning the Grand Special Jury Prize at Venice, Wind sees Kiarostami’s observant eye for the natural environment reaching its apotheosis as he fashions another graceful meditation on life and mortality.
As he would do so in many of his masterful works, we see a solitary vehicle moving along the dirt tracks of the vast terrain. In it is Behzad, an engineer, who visits a village (one that has been spectacularly cut into the side of a steep, rocky hill) to keep vigil for a dying relative.
“When you close your eyes on this world… it means you’re never coming back.”
However, Wind is so much more than what the plot has set the narrative out to be. Behzad’s repetitive encounters with nature and various people (some we don’t see at all like a man who is digging a well at the top of the hill) changes something in him, even if it feels elusive to him and us.
Kiarostami is also in a more symbolic mode here—not since Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) has the use of an animal bone in cinema been so metaphorically rewarding. While Wind isn’t as emotionally rich as some of his best works, its poetic and contemplative qualities are no doubt there to savour.