FIVE DEDICATED TO OZU (Abbas Kiarostami, 2003)
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Saturday, August 10, 7:30, and Wednesday, August 14, 5:05
Series continues through August 14
We first saw Abbas Kiarostami’s gorgeous five-part film Five Dedicated to Ozu at the Iranian director’s 2007 multidimensional MoMA exhibit, “Image Maker,” where all five segments ran continuously and simultaneously in five semiprivate partitioned spaces, each with its own comfy bench. The film as a whole, which is composed of static shots on a beach in Galicia, are dedicated to Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu, whose films attempted to catch the reality of human existence in all its simplicity. In the first episode, the coming waves threaten a piece of driftwood; we dare you not to create your own narrative in your head once the wood is split apart. (By the way, this is the only part of the film that includes any camera movement at all, as Kiarostami opts to follow the driftwood for one short moment.) For the second scene, the camera is moved to the boardwalk, with people passing to the right and left as the surf continues to crash onto the shore; this is the least compelling of the five pieces. Back on the beach for the third part, the camera finds a group of stray dogs in the distance, nestled together by the water; again, as one dog gets up and moves away, left to himself, you’ll create your own ideas about what is really happening. Next is the funniest section of the movie, as a long line of ducks don’t know whether they’re coming or going, but they do so determinedly. Finally, the last scene takes place at night, as the moon glistens in a dark sky as the sounds of frogs and nature envelop this small part of the earth. Relax and let your mind wander during this fascinating and fun cinematic experience that we found exhilarating as a single work — but we also loved how it was installed at MoMA, where you could sit down with any of the films at any time and just let them take you away. Five Dedicated to Ozu is screening the conventional way on August 10 and 14 in IFC’s comprehensive series “Abbas Kiarostami: A Retrospective,” which continues through August 15 with such other films by the Iranian director as The Traveler, Close-Up, Like Someone in Love, 24 Frames, and numerous shorts.