Abbas Kiarostami and his assistant, Seifollah Samadian, travel to Kampala, Uganda at the request of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development. For ten days, their camera captures and caresses the faces of a thousand children – all orphans – whose parents have died of AIDS. Recording tears and laughter, music and silence, life and death, the film attests to Africa’s sunny resilience in the face of so much suffering and disease.
Some have dismissed Kiarostami’s documentary about children in Uganda orphaned by AIDS and civil war as ‘conventional’; but how conventional is such a film when a few minutes only are devoted to depicting human suffering? Here, most of the kids on view – and adults, for that matter – are dancing, singing, joking and acting up for the DV camera. As such, even though the film was commissioned by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development in order to draw attention to a programme of teaching self-help and home economics to women who agree to adopt orphans, it’s firmly in the tradition of Kiarostami’s earlier work about children. It’s an unsentimental, but finally very moving celebration of innocence, courage, resilience and beauty; and there’s even a witty, wonderfully enthralling and subtly appropriate sequence involving an electricity blackout and a thunderstorm, a dazzlingly cinematic bit of formal play which also reflects perceptively and poetically both on the kids’ lives and on cinema itself.
Abbas Kiarostami – The Art of Living (54minutes, English subs)
1.17GB | 1h 24mn | 716×537 | mkv
Subtitles: English (hardcoded)