Bread and Alley

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 29, 2015

You know how some artists, how most of us have to evolve very gradually into our mature style, as it were? If we even get that far? Well, as far as Abbas Kiarostami’s films go it’s all here, right from the very beginning. Compose, hold, hold some more. And what results!

Fans of the famous features will know that the method can lead to droll, or to utmost profundity. With regard to the former quality, notice the absurd little episode of the old man. He walks all the way from that end of the street to this, and then our nervous young protagonist follows him that far again, and then finally the old man turns the wrong way and so offers no help at all.

Again, as with so many things, we have the option of taking things at their quotidian face value, or seeing all sorts of symbols. Do you have to give the bully your lunch money? Or does kindness make friends of enemies? Or has the oppressed become the oppressor? Or will big people ultimately compromise every childish initiative? And is history doomed to repeat itself?

Kiarostami will abandon these well-executed following or lateral shots, won’t he? He’ll certainly leave the music behind. Unsurprisingly though, his choice of cues at this very early date reveal the sophisticated, cosmopolitan taste that we also get out of the mature work.