The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)

“No. the good go to Heaven, and the evil go to Hell. Hurry in and write that, then come back.”

‘The Wind Will Carry Us’, directed by Abbas Kiarostami in 1999, is an Iranian movie about four journalists, posing as engineers, who travel to a small Kurdish village to cover the rituals of mourning in the rural area. When there, the chief ‘engineer’, played by Behzad Dourani discovers that the death he has come to the village to document has not yet happened, and so is forced to stay in the area and to experience the rhythms of life there. It’s an enigmatic film. The purpose of the journalists’ visit is unclear and the relationship between them and the villager is strange, part respectful and friendly, but part hostile and antagonistic. In fact, only the main journalist is shown, his companions seem to spend their entire visit asleep or elsewhere. It’s a film where the camera acts as a dominant character, pursuing the actors as they drive to the village and then Dourani as he is led through the labyrinthine streets by a local. His time there is punctuated by the routines of the village: washing, milking, fetching bread, school, but also by his semi-comical attempts to maintain his urban routines. Each time he shaves, for example, his mobile phone rings and he is forced to drive to the top of a local hill to answer it. This turns the film into a conflict between the meditatively rural and the action oriented urban. At times, however, Kiarostami allows the film to break out of these rhythms, for example when the journalist gets a lift on the back of a doctor’s motorcycle and journey through Tarkovsky-like fields of corn, during which they philosophise. These moments elevate the film to a level about a satire on the tensions between the city and the country.

Would I recommend it? Yes – it’s a beautifully shot, and genuinely mysterious movie laden with symbolism and, perhaps subversive, imagery. Watch in a double bill with Tarkovsky’s ‘Nostalghia’ for the similar narrative basis.

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