Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Traveler (1974 film)

Written, directed, and edited by Abbas Kiarostami, Mosafer (The Traveler) is the story of a boy who is trying to go see an important football game in Tehran as he tries to scheme his way to go see the game. The film is an exploration into a youth’s desire to see a football game in Tehran as he does whatever he can to raise money to get there. Even if he has to steal from his mother and do whatever just to go to the game. The result is a fascinating film from Abbas Kiarostami.

In Iran, football is a big deal as it revolves around this young boy named Qassem (Hassan Darabi) who is yearning to go to this important game. Yet, a round bus trip to Tehran would cost him 20 tomans while he has to get an additional ten for a cab ride as well as to get a ticket to the game. With the help of his friend Akbar (Masud Zandbegleh), Qassem does whatever it takes to get to the game but it comes a very big price. What Abbas Kiarostami reveals is the fallacy of youth in this young boy whose obsession for football as he has parents who want him to study and actually have a future. Yet the boy just simply refuses in the pursuit of going to this game as he tricks fellow classmates into giving him money by pretending he will take a photo of them or sell his football nets to a rival team. The boy does reach his goal yet the big question is that was it worth it? Even as he goes into a city he doesn’t know about and be entranced by what that world has to offer.

Kiarostami’s direction definitely plays to that approach of cinema verite as he shoots everything on location while he also harkens to the more fluid style of the films of the French New Wave. Notably as there’s some similarities between Qassem and the Antoine Doinel character that Francois Truffaut made famous in The 400 Blows. Yet, Kiarostami’s approach is much more straightforward not just in its presentation through the direction and editing but also in emphasizing this boy coming of age into his actions.

There are some amazing compositions as it is presented through Firooz Malekzadeh’s beautiful black-and-white photography. Notably in the scenes in Tehran where Qassem wanders around as Kiarostami uses the music of Kambiz Roushanavan to play out the boy’s sense of excitement as well as his melancholy where serene strings are used for those moments. Along with the naturalistic performances of the cast including Hassan Darabi as Qassem, Kiarostami creates a very engaging yet touching film about a boy’s selfish pursuits and the price he paid for this pursuit.

Mosafer is an excellent film from Abbas Kiarostami that explores the world of youth and their understanding into what is right and wrong. The film is definitely one of Kiarostami’s finest gems as well as a film that definitely has a lot to say about what kids will do for selfish reasons. It’s a film that doesn’t just appeal to art house audiences but it’s also very accessible as it is a film that kids should see. In the end, Mosafer is a wonderful film from Abbas Kiarostami.

Abbas Kiarostami Films: (The Experience) - (A Wedding Suit) - The Report - (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) - (Five) - (10 on Ten) - (Shirin) - Certified Copy - Like Someone in Love - 24 Frames

© thevoid99 2013

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