I realize some people will tell me I'm missing the point of the beautiful, philosophical Iranian art film "The Wind Will Carry Us," but I just expected it to have some kind of direction.
What the movie is about exactly is in large part up to the viewer. There's a man from Tehran (Behzad Dourani) visiting a remote village posing as some kind of telecom engineer, when in fact he's a photographer or anthropologist of some kind waiting for an old woman to die so he can document a local funeral ritual.
Idle in the mean time, he befriends a local boy, frequents a dusty café and makes several mad dashes to the top of the nearest hill in his truck to get better reception when his cell phone rings.
It's not a picture with a plot, per se -- and I don't have a problem with that. The characters and circumstances are so engrossing by themselves that a traditional narrative might very well get in the way.
The story -- as it were -- accounts this interloper's observations and interactions with this hillside hamlet of Kurdish women and children (most of the men are off working in the fields), sometimes forming bonds (he plays mind games with the boy) and other times seeing them as faceless strangers. Many people he interacts with are shot in shadow or don't appear in the camera's range at all. You only hear their voices, as the camera stays tight on Behzad.
This is only one of director Abbas Kiarostami's ("A Taste of Cherry") extraordinary techniques that help make "Wind" a bold and starkly beautiful film. Visually, his minimalist use of space and his photography are hypnotic as Behzad navigates the crumbling mud brick village's labyrinthine streets, walkways and rooftops. Emotionally, even though the "engineer" and the boy characters are drawn vaguely (on purpose), I quickly became attached to them.
This picture is the soul of simplicity (Behzad is the only actor, the locals are all natives of the village where the film was shot), actualized with such skilled and passionate precision that it feels like a work of art that should be shown in a museum.
But the one thing I didn't get from "The Wind Will Carry Us" was a sense of purpose. Why was I watching these people? Why was I there? I don't have a clue, and I really wish I did.