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Through the Olive Trees
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • Persian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • An essay by critic Godfrey Cheshire

Through the Olive Trees

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Abbas Kiarostami
1994 | 103 Minutes | Licensor: DreamLab Films

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $0.00 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #992
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: August 27, 2019
Review Date: August 26, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

Abbas Kiarostami takes meta-narrative gamesmanship to masterful new heights in the final installment of The Koker Trilogy. Unfolding “behind the scenes” of And Life Goes On, this film traces the complications that arise when the romantic misfortune of one of the actors—a young man who pines for the woman cast as his wife, even though, in real life, she will have nothing to do with him—creates turmoil on set and leaves the hapless director caught in the middle. An ineffably lovely, gentle human comedy steeped in the folkways of Iranian village life, Through the Olive Trees peels away layer after layer of artifice as it investigates the elusive, alchemical relationship between cinema and reality.


PICTURE

The third and final disc in Criterion’s box set The Koker Trilogy presents Through the Olive Trees in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Presented in 1080p/24hz high-definition, this new digital presentation comes from a 4K restoration scanned from the 35mm original camera negative.

By a very decent margin Through the Olive Trees offers what I would say is the best-looking presentation in the set. Colours lean a bit yellow, which makes blues look cyan (which was also noticeable in Where Is the Friend’s House?) but the look at the very least feels suiting, and it didn’t feel too heavy. It also didn’t seem to negatively impact other aspects of the picture, like the black levels, which look pretty good. Outside of one small sequence the image is razor sharp, delivering excellent details, textures, and depth. Film grain is very fine but rendered beautifully and remains natural and clear throughout the film.

There is one short early on in the truck where the image takes on a dirtier, dupey look, but it’s short-lived. A couple of other long shots also look a bit softer but it looks inherent to the film’s original photography. Rather shockingly I can’t recall any bit of print damage ever popping up in the film, after the previous films still showed stains and even mold. This one ends up being pretty spotless and a stunner overall.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The film’s audio is, like the others, presented in lossless PCM 1.0 mono. It’s clear and has a decent bit of fidelity behind it, coming off sounding the best. Music is low key but sharp and clear, and the track never comes off distorted or edgy.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

The previous titles, while not packed, contained some excellent material (the second film even including a commentary), so it makes a bit disappointing that this film gets the shaft, if just a little bit. I did rather enjoy the 14-minute interview Criterion includes with Kiarostami’s son, Ahmad Kiarostami. He talks primarily about his father’s art, his influences, and how important these films, particularly And Life Goes On, played into his life and career. He also talks about specific elements in his film, like how he enjoyed trapping characters in vehicles, and explains why that appealed to his father.

That interview ends up being a more personal one, which makes it one of the better ones in the set, but we also receive a strong discussion between Jamsheed Akrami and Godfrey Cheshire, who are here to talk about the trilogy, which also involves the backstory behind each film’s production. They also cover other films from around the time, like Close-Up and Homework (the latter of which is included on the disc for Where Is the Friend’s House?), and what Iranians, especially the hard-liners, thought of his work. There’s also some funny bits of information, like how Farhad Kheradmand, the actor playing Kiarostami in the second film, couldn’t actually drive a car (which is more than likely why he looks so apprehensive most of the time).

Both interviews are excellent but it feels light in the end, offering the least amount of material of the three discs. At the very least it would have been great to get some sort of follow-up to the events of Through the Olive Trees (though in fairness these are teased at in an episode of Cinéma de notre temps on the previous disc).

5/10

CLOSING

Though the two interviews found on the disc are good this title feels light in the supplements department. But it offers the strongest presentation, which is clean and razor-sharp.




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Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca