Life, Death And Hope: Taste of Cherry – Ta’m e guilass (1997)






Directed and written by Abbas Kiarostami

Life, Death And Hope - Taste of Cherry - Wisdom's Webzine

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‘Taste of Cherry’ directed by Abbas Kiarostami, a reputable Iranian director, won Palme d’Or of Festival de Cannes in 1997.

Mr. Badii, a middle-aged man, has a plan: to commit suicide. Everything is ready except one thing. For the last step, he needs someone to cover him up with earth. So, he drives out to find someone who can help him. Although he offers great rewards, everyone refuses him, disregarding his sincere and even desperate heart.

No one knows the reason why Mr. Baddi wants to commit suicide. He doesn’t explain or show what his problem is. He is just desperate to find someone to complete his plan. Finally, an old man, Mr. Bagheri, accepts his offer because of his sick child. He confesses that he once tried to commit suicide, too.

Life, Death And Hope - Taste of Cherry - Wisdom's Webzine

Images From Abbas Kiarostami

“I’ll tell you something that happened to me.

It was just after I got married.

We had all kinds of troubles

I was so fed up with it that I decided to end it all.

One morning, before dawn

I put a rope in my car.

My mind was made up.

I wanted to kill myself.

I set off for Mianeh.

This was in 1960.

I reached the mulberry tree plantations

I stopped there.

It was still dark.

I threw the rope over a tree

but it didn’t catch hold.

I tried once, twice but to no avail.

So then I climbed the tree

and tied the rope on tight.

Then I felt something soft under my hand. Mulberries.

Deliciously sweet mulberries.

I ate one.

It was succulent,

then a second and third.

Suddenly I noticed that the sun was rising over the mountaintop.

What sun, what scenery, what greenery!

All of a sudden I heard children heading off to school.

They stopped to look at me.

They asked me to shake the tree.

The mulberries fell and they ate.

I felt happy.

Then I gathered some mulberries to take them home.

My wife was still sleeping

When she woke up, she ate mulberries as well

and she enjoyed them too.

I had left to kill myself

andI came back with mulberries.

A mulberry saved my life.”

 

Life, Death And Hope - Taste of Cherry - Wisdom's Webzine

Images From Abbas Kiarostami

The old man continues to talk to Mr. Badii with compassion. He tries to change his mind and give him hope. He reminds Mr. Badii of the beauty of the sunset, of the stars in the sky and everything that the world, God, gives us. He even begs Mr. Badii not to give up his life. But Mr. Badii does not answer.

After driving and dropping off the old man at the museum he works at, Mr. Badii hastily drives back to him. He asks Mr. Bagheri to bring two small stones the morning after as he might not die but just fall asleep.

Mr. Bagheri goes back to work. Mr. Badii goes back home and carries out his plan. He lies down in the pit he has dug. The movie ends with Mr. Badii looking up at the sky where the moon shines behind lifting clouds.

From the opening of the movie when a desperate man who decides to end his life appears, “death” is addressed as a major subject. However, by the movie’s end the focus has shifted to “life.” “Hope” takes on the role of a bridge, connecting the two.

“Have you lost all hope?”

 

What changed Mr. Badii’s mind was “hope”, which Mr. Bagheri helped him to see again, and he realized it was actually everywhere.

“The world isn’t the way you see it.

You have to change your outlook and change the world.”

Life, Death And Hope - Taste of Cherry - Wisdom's Webzine

Images From Abbas Kiarostami

We are often negligent about the things around us and forget how important they are. In that way, we lock ourselves up into our own world. Trapped and obsessed with our own worlds, we can’t see the world properly; we can’t see what’s out there in the world as it is. We soon become victims of the world, and come to doubt, blame and loathe the world.

The agony and pain in our own worlds is immeasurable. We sometimes just want to put it to an end. But at those moments, if you look up, the sky is always there. There are stars and the moon, trees and winds, sunshine and rain. The world exists as it is, giving us everything, all the time – even when we feel we cannot endure the pain any longer.

“You want to refuse all that?

You want to give it all up?

You want to give up the taste of cherries?”

We don’t need something great to really see the world. A mulberry would be enough to wake you up from your dream world. A delicious, sweet mulberry would be more than enough to remind you of the beauty of the world and the unconditional love we receive from the world.

The moment you begin to truly see the world, feel the air of dawn and the warmth of the sunset, despair will change to hope.

 

“If you look at the four seasons,

Each season brings fruit.

In summer there’s fruit in autumn too.

Winter brings different fruit and spring too.

No mother can fill her fridge with such a variety of fruit for her children.

No mother can do as much for her children.

As God does for His creatures.”

From time to time, when life gets difficult, you might ask questions, ‘Why is the world like this?’ ‘Why is this happening to me?’ At that time, think about the world and the sky, which always stay there, embracing and looking after you. There must be the will of the world. That is, the world will bring us to the real world and ultimately to life because all of us are children of Mother Nature, the world.

Life, Death And Hope - Taste of Cherry - Wisdom's Webzine

Images From Abbas Kiarostami

The moment when you see the world, the moment when you care for others, the moment we are together, hope will come along. When we transform despair to hope, when we recognize each other as children of the world, and when we truly feel the love from the world, life will come along. And there, “Mother” will embrace you.