Movie Review On Taste Of Cherry: Movie Review
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Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry tells the story of a Mr. Badii and his wish of breaking free from physical, material world which trapped him via suicide. He needs a person who will help him. The helper will have to come next morning to the dig under tree prepared by him and in case if he is dead to throw in 20 spadefuls of earth on top of him. He picks up three men to persuade to do this job for money he offers. All the actions happen in his car. The film shows the life style of Iran as it is; people in the street, laborers, playing children, fields, roads, and horns everywhere, briefly, post-revolutionary Iran.
Compare the three responses to Badii’s proposition to aid him commit suicide. How are these reactions related to the Islamic legal prohibition of taking one’s life?
At first he meets a Kurd soldier; he is the youngest among them, very shy and sentimental boy. He is shocked hearing such a strange request and jumps out of his car and runs away to the hills. He doesn’t try to change Mr. Badii’s mind, didn’t ask the reason, didn’t want to help as he is not a brave Kurd soldier, I think. He just wants not to be involved in this deal. I think his action isn’t real Muslim’s action because he just thinks about himself; a real Muslim would try to stop him even if he needed to tie Mr.Badii. Not doing anything is also a sin when a person knows one’s intention to commit suicide.
A second person is an Afghan seminarist who asks the reason and tries to stop him explaining Allah entrusted us with one body and we have to keep it, not damage it. In comparison with the soldier Mr. Badii speaks to him that he can’t go on so he wants to release himself and claims that this young man can’t feel his pain and he doesn’t see any goal in life when his existence hurts others. The theologian refuses his offer saying his hand does Allah’s justice.
A third is a Turk taxidermist who has an experience of feelings when a person wants to kill himself. He is wise; his words wakes up hope and love for life in Balli’s heard. Balli’s actions show that he wants to continue living after their talk. He agrees because he needs money for his child’s treatment but he does his best to help him to find a solution in his situation. He hopes that Balli will stay alive as happened to him. He agrees because he wants to be Balli’s friend in every situation. However it is not right according to Islam, but he believes that Balli will stay alive.
Why would Badii still want to pursue his plan and why does he need a collaborator (someone who is involved in the suicide)?
The method of shoot explains that he is separated from others, alone spiritually, sometimes I see that he is egoistic as he never answers the questions, never replies for the horns. In conversation with the seminarist he says “there are times when man gets tired and exhausted” however I think that main reason is not in him but in political regime. We know that he was a soldier himself and he mentioned his unhappiness hurts others. He needs a collaborator because he wants to be buried when he dies, be remembered. He wants to give his money for someone in need.
Do you think that that the private and secretive mission to die on the Badii has something to do with Iranian Islamic Revolution’s theme of the glory of becoming an Islamic martyr through the defense of the country?
I think yes because everything is linked tightly. The period of Mr. Badii is post-revolutionary period. People were in difficulties that time; some suffered psychologically some in other ways. However it is not impossible to judge his personal reason as he never says it. Anyway he wanted to release himself from physical and material. He believed being unhappy and hurting others is a bigger sin than committing suicide. His suicide, I think, was protest to political situation and wars, the protest which cannot change things, but rises to protest to Allah. However I repeat again it is impossible to judge him as a viewer isn’t aware of his personal reason.
What sense can we make of the ending of the film?
The end of film shows that time will change as seasons change and time will come when soldiers will have flowers instead of guns. It leaves hopes for a better life and positive feelings. Anyway we don’t know anything about Mr. Badii’s fate. May be he is alive and values each moment of his life, maybe he closed his eyes in darkness of night forever. But he had a chance.
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