24 Frames Screen 19 articles

24 Frames

2017

24 Frames Poster
  • The level of Kiarostami’s fabrication is not entirely evident—though they all achieve an otherworldly quality that calls into question the truth of what we’re seeing. I could quibble at the margins (I might lose a few of the particular frames, and think perhaps the film is a bit too long), but overall the film is extraordinary and at times profoundly moving, even as Kiarostami displays some wry humor and makes some surprising, but effective, music choices.

  • When Kiarostami took the original photographs, he was presumably trying to capture something in the world: the hunting motif, from the Brueghel painting through the animals being shot, might also be a metaphor for photography itself. By digitally elaborating on these images, it seems he is trying to paint something seen in his mind’s eye, a memory or an imagined scene.

  • Kiarostami transforms the cinematic environment into a contemplative zone in which you feel calm and focused; you can go with the flow of sounds and images, ponder their meaning, or reflect on the cinematic trickery the director used in assembling them. Comparable to Brian Eno's ambient records, 24 Frames invites both cursory and deep readings; regardless of how you interact with it, the film provides immense aesthetic pleasure.

  • Needless to say, 24 Frames isn't the ideal starting place for those unfamiliar with Kiarostami, but it is an exceptionally beautiful place for his career to finish — conceptually audacious and adventurous yet a simple, peaceful space to appreciate his artistry.

  • The addition of these modest sounds and movements is intriguing but adds no insight and certainly no beauty to the Bruegel, which needs no such interventions. The rest of “24 Frames” is more appealing. . . . “24 Frames” can’t help but be affecting because it is Kiarostami’s final movie. But it’s intellectually uninvolving, and its technical limitations prove frustrating.

  • I know that so far this review has conveyed little of what it feels to watch these 24 little movies, but the experience is curiously dual: it’s very easy to be swept along by the cleverly playful visual patterns and evolving quasi-storylines. Yet at the same time, I suspect that every viewer will simultaneously (re)make the movie in his or her own mind by providing a wealth of personal thoughts and associations.

  • Each sequence begins with a simple title card that feels as if it is counting down even as it is counting up. We know that, once we arrive at “Frame 24,” an end will come: the cessation of a movie, the close of a career. How do you sum up a life? Especially when it’s your own. We’ll leave such matters to the gods (if they exist), to the ether, and to the literal-minded commentariat. For myself, I’ll just say I can think of few things more eloquently hopeless and hopeful as “Frame 24.”

  • A dialogue is set up between the two mediums: paintings capture a single moment in time, while film is fundamentally rooted in the passing of time, expressed visually. Kiarostami gives his photographs context, but only for a few minutes before and after the image represented by the original photograph. . . . The tension between hyper-mediation and verisimilitude that Kiarostami’s frames are built on destabilizes the viewer’s grasp of imagined reality and the actual thing.

  • 24 Frames is a delight on these sensory levels alone, and depending on one’s patience for contemplating glimpses of natural and almost exclusively non-human goings-on, the overall effect is near-transcendent. But there’s also another feeling shading the experience, a steadily creeping poignancy that relates to the extra-textual knowledge of Kiarostami’s passing and the way in which the film’s ultra-simple structure . . . acts as an expiring clock on the master’s career.

  • The film is as explicitly an expression of [Kiarostami's] will to frame the world as anything he’d made. We like cows and crows and snow, but it’s Kiarostami’s phenomenological presence that somehow turns every image or camera posture into a question about living, seeing, empathy, and essence. Much of this feels like moments of ultimate reckoning, but only in the end, in shot number 24, with a classic-film quote and a hint of sunrise, does the film literally bid us, and cinema, adieu.

  • The ratio of accomplishment is middling: about a third of the episodes are sublime, a third are clever, and a third are tedious. The best is saved for last—a reworking of a romantic scene from a classic Hollywood drama of the nineteen-forties in a conjoined setting of domestic comfort and the forbidding outdoors. Above all, the movie offers the mournful thrill of new methods that Kiarostami didn’t live to develop further.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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