24 Frames Screen 81 of 9 reviews

24 Frames


24 Frames Poster
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    Film Comment: Godfrey Cheshire
    November 03, 2017 | November/December 2017 Issue (pp. 55-56)

    Repeition-with-variations and a sly wit are hallmarks of many Kiarostami works, and these 24 mini-films abound with his visual acuity and dry authorial humor, all of it in accessible and pleasurable form. That accessibility notwithstanding, the film might be called radical in two senses. In the sense of "returning to the root," the elemental simplicity of the 24 stories and the mini-film structure takes us back imaginatively to the beginnings of cinema.

  • One of the most intriguing, poetic parts of the film is the segment that presents a view of treetops and a cloudy sky seen through a dark window. The gentle voice of a female singer ‘rhymes’ with the slow movement of the clouds and the subtle trembling of the leaves in the wind. The half-open window suggests the possibility of seeing and hearing the beauty of an exterior, unreachable world and possibly being transformed by it while being trapped within the limits of a shadowy interior.

  • 24 Frames and A Man of Integrity are extremely personal works by major artists who are each, in their own way, confronting the limits of their own agency... Where do you find beauty in your day-to-day life? How do you stay true to your principles in a debased society? Both films ask fundamental questions without proffering easy answers, only the thoughtful introspection that we've come to expect from two of contemporary world cinema's most vital artists.

  • It is impossible at time of writing to know precisely what changes have been made to the work since Kiarostami's death. One thing for sure, however, is that the selection on show did not match with his original intentions... These minimalist miniatures bear a closer relationship to Kiarostami’s photos and haiku-like poems than to most of his features. Modest as they are, they are still clearly the work of a truly distinctive artist, and to be cherished as a last gift to us.

  • As with 2003’s Five Dedicated to Ozu or 2008’s Shirin, this is filmmaking that demands intense deliberation as to what’s happening beyond the frame, as much as it does to what’s happening inside. It is occasionally a little repetitive, but this is a mellow, mediative swansong, and Kiarostami’s ongoing public dialogue with cinema will be sorely missed.

  • Not to colour 24 Frames as too much of an intellectual exercise—it doesn’t need ideas to function—but Kiarostami is confronting our expectations of the medium’s materiality and form here, and he does so in a way that aligns the experience with recent avant-garde experiments by the likes of Harun Farocki, Ken Jacobs, Chantal Akerman, and James Benning.

  • It may be the most experimental film ever shown at the festival... The effects themselves are a bit jerky and sometimes ragged in its integration, but this also adds to Kiarostami’s clear intention that audiences are aware of the fantasy. Yet 24 Frames remains magical because, photo after photo, what has been accomplished seems utterly impossible: could CGI animators be that good? Or are the corralled animals actually directed and controlled so precisely to work with existing photographs?

  • The result, it must be said, is often quite tacky... Kiarostami’s experiment defeats the very point of photography, as the photographer’s art lies precisely in capturing a specific instant that, on its own, has the power of evoking the life beyond. External elaboration isn’t simply redundant; it’s reductive, and it’s surprising that Kiarostami, an absolute master of the ellipsis, would curtail a photograph’s evocative potential in this manner.

  • Yet the gimmicks employed to heighten the impact of these images and bring them to life feel beamed in from another universe entirely—CGI snow, all manner of saturating filters, lachrymose music, animated bird after animated bird—which turn the act of looking into less of a conceptual experience than a test of how much muted chintz one can endure. In a career full of such magnificent frames, it’s all the harder to stomach that these are the last.

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