(Played in Special 70th Anniversary Events Section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival) Written and directed by Abbas Kiarostami, 24 Frames is an experimental film that bridges Kiarostami’s love of film and photography into one explore the images he had captured for much of his life. The film is a look into Kiarostami as an artist as the man himself showcases the work that gives him life in what is the filmmaker’s final film which was completed after his death in July of 2016 with the aid of his son Ahmad. The result is an evocative and exquisite film from Abbas Kiarostami.
The film is essentially 24 stills based on the photographs of Abbas Kiarostami where it showcases what happens before and after where each shot is presented for four-and-a-half minutes as they come to life. It is a film that takes a simple premise of Kiarostami’s love of photography and digital filmmaker as it meshes into one where these 24 shots play into that love as if the photos come to life. With the exception of the first shot of the film in a recreation of Pieter Brueghel the Eldger’s painting Hunters in the Snow, the 23 other shots in the film are all recreations of sorts of Kiarostami’s own photographs through animation and visual effects. The recreation of Hunters in the Snow shows exactly what to expect as flurries of snow emerged with animals in the painting starting to move, smoke coming out of chimneys, and a dog is sniffing around the tree. Many of the images that Kiarostami presents are essentially landscapes set either in the snow, the ocean, or on a rainy day.
With the aid of cinematographers Dariush Gorji Zadeh, Peyman Solhi, Delaram Delashob, and Yousef Khoshnaghsh as well as the work of visual effects supervisor Ali Kamali, Kiarostami creates these scenes of nature with some hand-drawn animation of animals or in digital animation where it helps play into the beauty of what one does in taking a photograph. There are also actors that would appear such as a shot of a family looking at the Eiffel Tower as they would stand still while people are walking in the foreground including a musician singing a song. The sound work of Ensieh Maleki adds to the atmosphere of these images as it play off on natural soundscapes in those environments as well as the way animals sound. There are some music that is played as the soundtrack largely consists of classical and operatic pieces along with a folk piece for the Eiffel Tower section.
The emphasis on minimalism and simplicity is what makes the film interesting to watch as each shot ends in a fade-to-black with the exception of sorts for the final shot of the film. It all play into Kiarostami’s idea of what he sees in a photograph or in an image and how much life it has. Even in something like a group of sheep huddling together around a tree or cows walking on the beach while one of them is lying on the sand. Much of the shots are presented in black-and-white with a few in color as it adds to the beauty of the visuals but also ideas about the simplicity of life. Even in something that could be considered banal but for four-and-a-half-minutes of these 24 frames, Kiarostami creates something that is fitting about his views on life and tells it with such grace and beauty.
24 Frames is a sensational film from Abbas Kiarostami. It is a film that doesn’t try to be anything but a straightforward experimental film that plays into the meshing of film and photography to display about the joys and simplicity of life. As a final piece of work for Kiarostami, it is a fitting way for the filmmaker to go out on his own terms and in a somber and graceful manner. In the end, 24 Frames is an incredible film from Abbas Kiarostami.
Abbas Kiarostami Films: (The Experience) – The Traveler (1974 film) - (A Wedding) – The Report (1977 film) - (First Case, Second Case) – (Fellow Citizens) – (First Graders) – Where is the Friend's House? - Homework (1989 film) - Close-Up - Life, and Nothing More... - Through the Olive Trees - Taste of Cherry - (The Wind Will Carry Us) – (ABC Africa) – (Ten (2002 film)) – (Five (2003 film)) – (10 on Ten) – (Shirin) – Certified Copy - Like Someone in Love
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