Part of Abbas Kiarostami: A Retrospective.
In this trio of a few of Kiarostami’s earliest films, his first two shorts (The Bread and Alley and Breaktime) followed by an early feature (THE TRAVELER), the keen photographic eye and themes of youthful conundrums—whether involving dogs, soccer or otherwise—are already on full display.
Kiarostami’s first feature focuses on a boy in a provincial city so avid to get to Tehran to see a soccer match that he’ll lie to adults and cheat other kids. A quest film that’s also a study of youthful obsession, it’s filmed in edgy black and white with a quiet energy matching that of the protagonist. THE TRAVELER has an acridly ironic ending and one of the best performances by a child in Kiarostami’s early work.
The Bread and Alley:
“The mother of all my films,” according to Abbas Kiarostami, starts out as a breezily observed anecdote about a boy winding his way home through Tehran alleys carrying a loaf of bread. Variations on both the boy and the old man he sees and begins to follow will factor into future Kiarostami films, as will the use of “dead time,” the journey structure, and the poetic articulation of space. The final scene, involving a dog and a door, ends on a note of wry ambiguity.
Disciplined at school for breaking a window, a boy joins throngs of his schoolmates as they make a cacophonous exit onto Tehran’s streets. He then briefly joins an impromptu soccer game but disrupts it by stealing the ball and running away, and ends up drifting aimlessly along a busy highway. Free of dialogue but using unsynchronized sound throughout, this moody film shows Kiarostami expanding his visual vocabulary with zooms and crane and helicopter shots.
The Belcourt Theatre does not provide advisories about subject matter or potential triggering content, as sensitivities vary from person to person.
Beyond the synopses, trailers and review links on our website, other sources of information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media and IMDb, as well as through general internet searches.
Visit the Official Website