Zire darakhatan zeyton

Zire darakhatan zeyton
Through the Olive Trees

A little nameless flower
blossoming alone
in the crack of a huge mountain

Abbas Kiarostami1


“I believe the films of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami are extraordinary. Words cannot relate my feelings. I suggest you see his films; and then you will see what I mean. Satyajit Ray passed away and I got very upset. But having watched Kiarostami’s films, I thank God because now we have a very good substitute for him.”

Akira Kurosawa2


“This film was written based on a scene in Life and Nothing More..., of the wedding between a man and a woman. From the moment of its conception, Through the Olive Trees thus clearly refers back to the director’s previous film; but this does not mean that Kiarostami was particularly interested in the cinematic device of the ‘film within a film’. Quite the opposite: [...] this element was completely missing from the first draft of the film. ‘I didn’t have the least intention as such,’ Kiarostami explains, of making a film about the shooting of a film. Actually, I didn’t want to do such a thing, because I’d already done something similar in Close-Up, and I didn’t want to repeat myself. I just wanted to tell the story of Hossein and Tahereh, and tried to find the best way to do it. While I was preparing the project I had this idea and went along with it, while I was working on new ideas for the film’.

The labyrinthine game of mirrors that constitutes Through the Olive Trees should not therefore cloud our basic recognition that the film is above all – for the first time in Kiarostami’s career – a love story. A story of a difficult and troubled love, certainly, but definitely not the usual story of cinematic ups and downs full of tension and trivial events, as required by the conventions of the typical film genre.”

Alberto Elena3

  • 1Abbas Kiarostami, Walking With the Wind. Poems by Abbas Kiarostami (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), 67.
  • 2Quoted in Alberto Elena, The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami (London: Saqi, 2005), 106.
  • 3Alberto Elena, The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami (London: Saqi, 2005), 106-107.
UPDATED ON 29.12.2017