Premiering at Cannes, the final instalment in Kiarostami’s Koker trilogy is a comic and wildly meta examination of class and romance set amid the rubble of Iran’s 1990 earthquake.
Hossein wants to marry Tahereh but he’s poor and doesn’t have a house. Believing that the natural disaster has levelled the classes, he’s heartbroken when the girl’s grandmother snaps at him, “Are you blind? Don’t you see the steel beams going up and that everything will go back to normal?” But when a filmmaker comes to town to make a fictionalised version of And Life Goes On
, Hossein and Tahereh are cast as newlyweds, and he sees a chance to change his fate.
Throughout his career, Kiarostami’s work was criticised in some quarters for its largely apolitical stance but reflecting on this he said, “I’m only allowed to talk about human beings, and human beings aren’t separate from social realities. Through one character, or human being, I can reach certain truths.” Using the film’s wildly meta structure, Kiarostami achieves a politics of stealth, illuminating the complex social structures and inequities which have survived both the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 1990 earthquake, all under the guise of simply making a movie.