Thursday, March 01, 2007


(Note: I actually am rarely satisfied with any kind of diaristic entries of mine, they always seem too self-indulgent, my stream-of-consciousness pretty boring and opaque. Anyway, I write them so I can get them out of my system ... I'll try to have more substantive material on EL soon ...)

The good news: Abbas Kiarostami's trip to the United States was successful, and he is introducing his film Taste of Cherry to a sold-out crowd at the Museum of Modern Art.

The bad news: I got sold out of Kiarostami introducing his film Taste of Cherry at MoMA.

I arrived 45 minutes early to get a ticket and a decent seat, so I thought. (I was under the impression that MoMA doesn't give advance tickets to film screenings, but apparently I am wrong.) The woman behind the desk was very nice as I whimpered, to no avail, about any possibility of stand-by tickets.

I cannot overestimate the importance of Taste of Cherry to my growth as a cinephile, as someone who engages with any kind of art. I saw it on video in early 2000, and I distinctly remember watching the film alone in my room, watching the extra interview with Kiarostami after it, liking it, and then realizing about two weeks later--in my Spanish class!--that this films powers were beyond those that I could immediately identify and appreciate. For the first time, in any major way at least, I felt and knew that there were elements in art that I couldn't or wouldn't always feel or know. That is, I began to understand something of my limits, and something of the vastness and richness of what else existed beyond them. That things could be beyond me reach but not beyond me, but instead very heavily with me. In my classroom, amidst los subjuntivos, I realized in a tiny little metacognitive epiphany that my thoughts were continually straying to the material of Taste of Cherry--the three riders structure, the beautiful dusty landscapes, the coyness with which the suicide "plot" was slowly revealed, the glorious (and infamous) coda that I've never totally understood, and never totally want to. Probably more than any single film, Taste of Cherry helped me learn to stay open to "otherness," to seek when it would be easier to reject. In the cinema specifically, yes, definitely ... but this film had repercussions beyond simply how I deal with movies (as an aesthete/scholar/hobbyist). It would not be an exaggeration to say that Taste of Cherry, and experiences like it, helped pave the way (they were hardly the sole inspiration!) for me to examine a lot of my unexamined beliefs in all facets of life, to put them to the test, to have them compete with "others." Obviously I can make no claims that I have always followed these good lessons, for films or for life. But I have tried.

Seeing it tonight, on the big screen, with Kiarostami himself present, would have been an amazing full circle experience.

I am temperamentally disinclined to getting advance tickets to things, as I have noted here before. I really will have to change this about myself if I want to avoid non-experiences like this one.

So tonight, I think I will do what any reasonable person would do in my place. Drink. Putter around. Clean the apartment a bit. Complain to Significant Other. Drink more. Go to bed early.


Jaime said...

Don't drink. Alcohol is literally poison. Also, it steals your money, your brains, and your time. And other things. This is me saying this to you, so take it as you will.


I recognize the feeling (this is re your response to TASTE OF CHERRY), and I am reliving it with two recent re-views: Bresson's PICKPOCKET and K Kurosawa's CURE, both of which suggest worlds.

Anonymous said...

$1 for tix in advance the week before, Zach!

I'm stoked for tonight's 6 & 8 screenings ... assuming they're not sold out. Better get up there at lunch.

alsolikelife said...

If you spent those two hours riding the subway telling random people you were going to kill yourself, you'd have your Kiarostami movie right there!

Hope to see you at THE TRAVELLER tonight

ZC said...

Jaime--I appreciate your concern, but don't take my last lines too seriously! I was trying to poke fun at my own woe-is-me stance. While I did enjoy two bottles of beer over the course of several hours last night, a perfectly guiltless & pleasurable activity, I'm (thank jebus) not a person who actually turns to drink when I'm down. The real consolation last night was more likely my idle flipping through Marcus Aurelius ... (note to self: Be More Stoic!)

(BTW, I really should re-visit Cure, and see more K. Kurosawa in general. Thanks for the reminder.)

Bill W--damn! Now I know.

Kevin--I've decided to skip the screenings tonight, to try and catch them next weekend. I'm seeing Out 1 tomorrow & Sunday and think maybe I should cushion this marathon with cinema-free days before & after. Although I could conceivably watch a comedy or something tonight, something I've seen before and know well ...

Marcelo said...

Anonymous said...

Zach - Watch "Close Up" - many Westerners, think it's merely about identity switching.
However, it embodies the class infrastructure of Iran, and therefore how this man simply wants to be, and experience the feeling of being accepted.
It's sublimely human and my personal favoirte Kiaorstami.
I was touched by the process of how "Taste of Cherry" hit you. I also learned, from Iranian cinema, that the test of a good film is when you recall an episode, an aspect of it, 12 days later in the middle of something completely unrelated. When it keeps returning to you. That's a sign that it has successfully penetrated your being.
Afsaneh Mirfendereski,
Chevy Chase,