Bād mā rā Khāhad bord
Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, France, 1999
Kiarostami films a man, alone, who watches, examines, searches and who yet doesn’t see the magnificent beauty that surrounds him. He only perceives fragments of the world around him which, far from making sense seem to always send him back to his own helplessness. This inability of seeing and understanding, and his frustration are expressed through this cruel game with the tortoise, which he turns over several times as if he wanted to assert his grip on a reality that eludes him. This world dictates him its own rules,still, when he has to stop to let a flock of sheep through that he doesn’t pay attention to, that we see moving in the depth of field, through the car windows. The dogs running and frolicking, the tortoise who finally manages to turn over and carry on, the sheep crossing: animals, in their alterity, their reality (we even hear the tortoise’s breathing), and their reactions’ unpredictability are real to the world: a change of shots scale unveils to the spectator an immense landscape, the soft light and the wind on hills; unlike his character, whose universe seems shrunk, the film-maker sees and films the world that is here, given to our eyes, fixed in an immutable eternity. Our passage there is elusive, the print we will leave behind is tenuous, as is the car disappearing progressively behind the wheat fields, like it was engulfed.