Actors: Behzad Dorani, Bahman Ghobadi
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Cohen Media Group
DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014
Run Time: 118 minutes
Released in 1999, The Wind Will Carry Us is a deceptively simplistic story with contemporary themes dealing with the clash of modern technology in a world built upon old traditions. Restraint in the filmmaking process of Abbas Kiarostami only adds to the themes presented, giving everything shown more significance because of all that is left out of frame. The number of characters whose faces are never seen only enhances the impact of the scenery, which takes on one of the largest roles in the film’s narrative.
The film begins with an expansive wide shot of a car driving through Kurdish countryside, seeking out the well-hidden mountain
. There are
a group of men arguing over the directions in the car, but only the leader is
ever seen once they make their arrival. Behzad Dourani stars as the never-named
man in charge, though their reasons for this visit to a remote village is as
mysterious as the other men’s identity. Many refer to the man as an engineer
and he calls himself a treasure hunter to a young boy who serves as the guide
for the men. The only certainty about their time spent in the village is that
it involves an elderly local woman said to be close to dying. village
of Siah Dareh
As the engineer and his crew anticipate the last days of the invalid woman, there is little for the engineer to do but experience the slow pace of life in the village. Kiarostami shows the clash between the rhythm of Siah Dareh and the modern technology that the engineer is accustomed to, with tradition and nature always seeming to hold the winning hand. As they drive up the mountain upon arrival, the car gives out on them before completing the ascent. Every time the engineer’s cell phone rings, he is forced to make an elaborate dash to higher ground in order to have reception to speak.
Even when the engineer rages against the difficulties of the landscape, cruelly flipping a tortoise on its back, Kiarostami remains on the creature long enough afterwards to show it steadily work to turn itself upright again. The nature of the setting does not show outright strength, but a steady consistency that is difficult to break, and all of this is clearly seen in the manner of Kiarostami’s filmmaking. Each time the engineer drives to higher ground to take a phone call, he encounters an unseen man digging ditches that never seem completed. Eventually this man is buried in this ditch, resulting in the film’s most climactic sequence and another clear visual metaphor for the themes of nature versus technology. Even with the help of several vehicles, it seems to take an eternity before the man is rescued from the work becoming a grave.
This is certainly strong filmmaking, though the intentional and necessary slow pacing of the film requires patience. It is a film which requires the same personality traits eventually demanded from its main character, who must give in to the pace and qualities of the remote surroundings. This 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition of the 1999 winner of the Venice Film Festival comes with a booklet insert complete with production photos and a new essay from critic Peter Tonguette. The special features on the disc include a feature-length commentary by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum and scholar Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, a filmed conversation between Kiarostami and Richard Peña, and a new re-release trailer.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10
Historical Significance: 6.5/10