Abbas Kiarostami's 24 FRAMES opens at the AFS Cinema on Friday, February 23. Tickets and more info here.
The death of Iranian writer/director Abbas Kiarostami in 2016 robbed us of one of cinema's great masters. Though he had lived a relatively long, and certainly productive, life, his perspective on film and on life was still evolving and he continued to experiment with the technical possibilities of the medium.
With all that in mind, the posthumous release of his final film 24 FRAMES is a great gift to all of us. It is a work of meditation and experimentation, and, as critic Godfrey Cheshire writes, "this lovely final film is one that could be enjoyed by fourth-graders as easily as the most knowledgeable of Kiarostami's admirers."
The premise of the film is simple. The director has taken 24 still images, most of them his own photographs, and digitally animated, with the help of collaborators Ali Kamali and Ahmad Kiarostami (the filmmaker's son), a new narrative of what happens before and after the shutter snaps. Each "frame" lasts four and a half minutes and is a short film in and of itself.
It is not a film for everyone, but it is possessed of great insight and poetic expression and should certainly be seen on the big screen.
Here's what the critics are saying about 24 FRAMES:
"Since Kiarostami knew this was likely to be his last movie, there is an inescapably elegiac quality to 24 FRAMES’ concentrated meditation on image-making. 24 FRAMES is a must for longtime Kiarostami observers (and that should include all cinephiles)" - Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"24 FRAMES immediately communicates the power of the theater experience, in the way that so many of Kiarostami's movies can." - David Sims, The Atlantic
"Takes up residence in your mental jukebox in a way that's so haunting, for a while it crowds out all the other beauty you've heard." - Owen Gleiberman, Variety
"The chief pleasure of 24 FRAMES is how it attunes you to appreciate any movement, whether it's snow falling, waves crashing, or birds pecking the earth." - Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader
"In an age where people are so preoccupied with the size of the screen on which we watch things, it's fitting that Kiarostami's final work reminds us that no screen is too small, and that no screen is ever big enough." - David Ehrlich, IndieWire