Ambiguity In Taste Of Cherry By Abbas Kiarostami

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The 1997 film Taste of Cherry by Abbas Kiarostami is one of ambiguity in a number of ways, the vagueness and openness of the films content results in an array of possible interpretations; the film has likewise been ambiguous in the responses and evaluation it draws. This essay shall examine two of these responses and interpretations, namely those of Hamish Ford and Jonathan Rosenbaum, whilst postulating that the Humanist view proposed by Rosenbaum is the more pertinent of the two. This shall be expanded upon by closely examining the epilogue (coda) and final scene of the film. In his paper entitled: Driving into the Void: Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry Hamish ford argues that the theme, content and narrative (or lack thereof) of Taste of Cherry is one that is “negatively engaging”. He describes that the openness of the film is simultaneously threatening and enabling and its temporarlity evokes confusion (Ford, 2012, p.3). To him Taste of Cherry is destabilizing and underpinned with a quite violence (Ford, 2012, p.3). He argues that the open-ended denouement Kiarostami uses in many examples of his work cannot be exclusively positive in the viewer’s interpretation of them because of all the things we see and all that we do not; to understand it only as affirming would be a limited response. Ford stipulates that, in his opinion, these endings are subversive in nature as opposed to affirming (Ford, 2012, p. 29). The protagonist, Mr Badii, is constructed in such a way that he lacks depth and is difficult for the audience to relate to forcing them to have an objective view on the scene provided to them, our emotions should not come into play when viewing the final scene and we are forced to consider a number of possible outcomes, many ... ... middle of paper ... ... this change likewise alludes to a far more positive outcome. That Kiarostami left the final scene without a direct conclusion (Mr Badii climes into the grave and we see the sky as it begins to rain) means that it is open to our interpretation, without the coda I feel the film would maintain the minimalist, sombre tone which was carried throughout most of its content. However, the dynamic and vivacious (for lack of a better word) epilogue leaves us with a sense of hope, that life can go on and circumstances can change. Kiarostami has said that he finds no distinction between documentary and fiction, thus, one cannot ignore the context within which the film was made (Rosenbaum, 8). Released in 1997, Taste of Cherry is set, and indeed was created, in post-revolutionary Iran and many of its stylistic, narrative and narrative choices can be seen to reflect this.

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