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Taste of Cherry (The Criterion Collection) (1998)

Homayoun Ershadi , Abdolrahman Bagheri , Abbas Kiarostami  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari, Safar Ali Moradi, Mir Hossein Noori
  • Directors: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Writers: Abbas Kiarostami
  • Producers: Abbas Kiarostami, Alain Depardieu
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Persian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 1999
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305362688
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Taste of Cherry (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Rare interview with Abbas Kiarostami

Editorial Reviews

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for this contemplative film about a Muslim, Mr. Badi (Homayon Ershadi), who drives around the barren hills outside Tehran, flagging down passersby and offering good money for a simple job that he's hesitant to explain. He's planning his suicide and seeks someone to perform something of a symbolic eulogy. Most of his subjects refuse (personal morality aside, suicide is forbidden to Muslims), but he finds an elderly taxidermist (Abdolrahman Bagheri) who agrees only because he needs the money for an ill child. Yet the old man gently pleads with him to choose life, to embrace the joys of earthly existence, to remember the taste of cherries. Though initially greeted with critical acclaim, A Taste of Cherry received poor distribution in the U.S. The meandering, deliberately paced drama is composed of long conversations and long silences, and the camera is locked in the car for entire sequences, staring at the protagonists in still closeups with the dusty landscape rolling past the windows of the Land Rover in the background. Kiarostami's film is not for everyone, but if you can embrace the quiet power and grace of his deceptively simple style, the film becomes a remarkably rich celebration of human dignity and resilience. By the astonishing conclusion we can see past Badi's age-etched face to the soul peering out from behind his sad eyes. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry is an emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran-searching for someone to rescue or bury him. Criterion is proud to present the DVD premiere of Taste of Cherry in a beautiful widescreen transfer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A taste to be savored February 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
If you're going to make a film which largely consists of a man driving his Range Rover along dusty Iranian roads, soliciting various men for their assistance, you'd sure better make an engaging film. For the philosophically inclined, Abbas Kiarostami has done just that.
Though most of the film takes place on a few dirt roads over-looking Tehran, you could still see it as a road movie, albeit a sophisticated, intellectually engaging one.
Homayon Ershadi plays Badii, the driver of the Range Rover, as a strong yet depleted man, a man with resignation etched into his face in every frame. Mr. Badii is trying to find someone to help him with his suicide. The job is simple: come to cover his body if he's successful; rescue him if he is not. He's willing to give a tremendous amount of money for only a little work. Each man he picks up reacts to his offer in a different way--each of them conveys the belief that Badii's taking his own life would be wrong, but each of them gives different a reason for his inability to help. The only man willing to help Badii is another who once attempted suicide. Even he tries to convince him to remain, to remember the taste of cherry.
The end of the movie has been misunderstood by some reviewers; it's not a trick, the movie is not a sham. The ending simply provides a jolting coda, reminding us that no matter how barren life may seem, there is a reality uncolored by emotion and mental disease, and in that reality there are others leading joyful lives.
Not only has Kiarostami given us food for thought, he reveals gritty, dusty Tehran to be a city of haunting golden beauty. Another filmaker would have taken us to Eden to prove his point, but Kiarostami shows us there is beauty wherever you are, even in a land seemingly drained of color and steeped in binding tradition.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Khayyám at 24 FPS September 5, 2004
Khayyám was a few centuries before Nietzsche and Sartre in his questioning and denial of religion and god. It should also be no surprise that he was the contemporary of Khawrazmi, the Persian mathematician who has given the world the idea of zero, or NOTHING.

The abstraction of nothingness as dust is prevalent in Khayyám's work. So it is in this presentation. The alienation of modern man from nature too ties Kiarostami and Khayyám in an inverse manner, where Khayam saw all nature as nothing, except for the short flash of life, Kiarostami presents nature as a flash in a lifetime, of course along a long and winding road, where a single taste of cherries is equivalent to taking in the whole universe and attaining the freedom to evaluate life on YOUR own terms. If you choose to forgo cherries and mulberries to spare the ones you wish to live better, it is true shining of life.

The "naturalist" who tries to convince our hero, who is as bitter as any "Omar", that the taste of cherries is sufficient to give meaning to everything and make up for all angst, survives by stuffing birds. Are these not the same 900 year old birds who in Khayyám's poetry ask the question of being and nothingness from atop ruins of bygone kings?

There is not enough room here to get into the cinematography and camera work in this movie. Obviously Kiarostami has watched a lot of Kurosawa too. None the less,

the final scene of the movie is simply beyond expectation. In the age of cold "media", the use of hand held video makes reality into a story, no matter how elating or how painful it might have been, it cools it to a story to be reviewed. Kiarostami uses this device to review a whole life before it is extinguished.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life! what's it worth? January 11, 2000
By Ashegam
Is life worth anything? Perhaps this is one of the main questions going through the head of the main actor through out this film. The films first setting carries on for about 10-15 minutes leaving the viewer confused. It's not until half way through the movie that one realizes what the plot is about. Boring? no, but perhaps different and keeping you interested by making you more confused :)
The movie is slow paced but will have you sigh a big "wow" at the end and make you realize why they took it so slow. It will also leave you with questions that only you can asnwer for your self and not a buddy who was watching it with you. Lastely It will make you think twice about the gift of life and how we engorge ourselves in the big picture and overlook the small details.
So take a deep breath and be prepared to think of the unthinkable :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging February 5, 2006
When I first saw this movie I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I was obviously touched by this movie and at the same time I agreed with the critics that it was a bit slow. But I couldn't help think about it more and more as days went by. Then I saw a brief interview of Abbas Kiarostami. At one point he mentioned the kind movies he wanted to make and those he didn't. He didn't want to make movies that would hold the audience hostage with high suspense and after the show when the adrenaline drops down the audience would feel cheated. What he wants to make is "boring" movies and he mentioned that he actually felt asleep in some movies he considered to be great.There's no need for pulse rates to go high, the greatest achievemnt of a filmamaker comes when the audeince thinks about the movie for at times length after they get out of the cinema hall. When they can't shake off the feeling of seeing the movie and that feeling lingers on for a long long time.

And for sure, he was absolutely right. I couldn't shake off this movie. It actually hit me slowly, literally. This is a great movie. It has served its purpose. Why Mr Badi want to kil himself is totally irrevelant, that's not the point. We see a desperate man who has lost all will to live. It's as simple as that. All the characters in this movie feels real, too watching my neighbours and friends go about their business. The movie is slow albeit one point. When Badi snaps a picture of a couple, he feels a sudden rush of doubt about what he is about to do. He says to the taxidermist to make sure he's still alive before putting the dirt on him. A stunning scene.

I'm a great admirer of roger ebert but I've to disagree with him on this one. I think this is an important movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably boring.
Critics honestly think that this is a masterpiece? I rented the Criterion DVD from the public library earlier this week and watched it twice. Read more
Published 7 months ago by JLR
5.0 out of 5 stars The bittersweet taste of life!
Abbas Kiarostami handles the awful situation of the suicide as well as its possible consequences. I should remark that since Louis Malle's The Fire within (the best film ever... Read more
Published on May 27, 2012 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars A deceptively simple and profound exploration of life and cinema
A middle-aged and middle class man drives through the streets of Tehran, searching for someone who might assist him. Read more
Published on July 19, 2010 by Nathan Andersen
4.0 out of 5 stars One will be rewarded for patience
Every now and then, I like to watch older foreign films. When I happend to came across this one, I liked the title and then when I read on the back of the DVD that film got price... Read more
Published on May 30, 2010 by Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Suicide
This movie is simple but profound. It leaves you thinking, and it is deep, but not dark - despite the subject of suicide. Read more
Published on May 6, 2010 by C. C. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Who wants to forget the taste of cherries?
You ever notice how the best films out there are the films that `aren't for everyone'? I was thinking about that while I was watching this film. Read more
Published on March 30, 2010 by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
An impassive, middle-aged man drives through the busy urban traffic of the city, and is approached by several day laborers for hire. Read more
Published on January 6, 2010 by Le_Samourai
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, but hard to watch
I have a favorable opinion of this movie, though it was tough to watch, and I probably will never watch it again. Read more
Published on June 26, 2009 by Caraculiambro
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie that comes close to meditation
This movie changed my thoughts about what cinema can do. It is as close to a mindfullness meditation - vipassana- as as movie can be. Read more
Published on February 21, 2009 by voak
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
There is the old, and often neglected, nostrum about `gilding the lily.' I was reminded of this watching Abbas Kiarostami's acclaimed 1997 film Taste Of Cherry (Ta'm E Guilass),... Read more
Published on September 18, 2008 by Cosmoetica
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