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And Life Goes On
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.66:1 Widescreen
  • Persian PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New audio commentary featuring Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum, coauthors of Abbas Kiarostami

And Life Goes On

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Abbas Kiarostami
1992 | 95 Minutes | Licensor: MK2

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $0.00 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #991
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: August 27, 2019
Review Date: August 24, 2019

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SYNOPSIS

In the aftermath of a 1990 earthquake that left at least thirty thousand dead, Abbas Kiarostami returned to Koker, where his camera surveys not only devastation but also the teeming life in its wake. Blending fiction and reality into a playful, poignant road movie, And Life Goes On follows a film director who, along with his son, makes the trek to the region in hopes of finding out if the young star of Where Is the Friendís House? is among the survivors, and discovers a resilient community pressing on in the face of tragedy. Finding beauty in the bleakest of circumstances, Kiarostami crafts a quietly majestic ode to the best of the human spirit.


PICTURE

The second film in Abbas Kiarostamiís Koker Trilogy, And Life Goes On (aka Life and Nothing More), is presented on the second dual-layer disc of Criterionís box set. The film comes with a new 1080p/24hz high-definition encode in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The master has been sourced from a new 2K restoration scanned from the 35mm original camera negative.

Like Where Is the Friendís House?, And Life Goes On has been painstakingly restored and the end results are staggering. Some minor issues remain, like bits of dirt, some stains and squiggly lines on the side of the screen, but the majority of the film is clean and can even look as though it has been filmed recently. The film leans warmer with its colours, but it feels suiting and they look well rendered and saturated, with black levels also looking spot on.

The digital presentation itself is about flawless. It renders grain incredibly well, free of noise, and detail levels are striking because of it. There are a number of long shots of the landscape, or of very grassy fields, or densely wooded areas, and the details in these shots are distinct and crisp. Some shots can come off a bit fuzzier but this looks to be inherent to the photography. I was expecting something maybe a bit more problematic due to the source but similar to Where Is the Friendís House? it ends up being a wonderful surprise.

8/10

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

And Life Goes On also feature a Farsi monaural soundtrack, presented here in lossless 1.0 PCM. There is far more activity going on in this film in comparison to the previous one (cars going about, construction work, groups of people talking) and the track has some decent heft behind it, with a decent amount of range and excellent clarity. Music that pops up plays at low levels but it also has some nice depth to it. The track is also clean and free of distortion.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Of the three discs in the set And Life Goes On ends up offering the most material, including an audio commentary by scholars Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa and Jonathan Rosenbaum, co-authors of the book Abbas Kiarostami. Though they do talk about the trilogy as a whole (even bringing up moments where this film crosses with the other two) the track is pretty specific to this film as it (and the journey he made that influenced it) marked a changing point in Kiarostamiís life and his films, particularly his mix of narrative and documentary (with Close-Up getting mentioned often throughout the track). The two also talk a little bit about Iranian cinema to give more context to Kiarostamiís career, and also talk about how Iranian and western audiences view his films (his later films proved less popular in Iran) and Rosenbaum event quotes some of the unfavorable reviews And Life Goes On received from Iranian critics (one was annoyed by how European the protagonist looked). Iím a little disappointed Criterion didnít see fit to include a track for each film in the set but considering the importance of this film in relation to Kiarostamiís career and how it shaped his trajectory from there they at least picked the right one to include a track with. Itís an insightful and engaging discussion.

After this is a 1994 episode from the French television program Cinťmas de notre temps called Abbas Kiarostami: Truths and Dreams. The set-up for the 52-minute program, looking at his career up to that point (this would have been around the time Through the Olive Trees was released) is perfectly appropriate. In the episode Kiarostami returns yet again to the Koker area by car, trapping his interviewers with him, first going through the same toll booth that opened And Life Goes On (and apparently coming across the same toll booth operator in the film) and then traveling along the same route followed in that film, talking about his work along the way. He also visits the actors that appeared in his ďKokerĒ films, which includes Hossein from that last two films (and Kiarostami even questions his wife about his real-life love interest in both films, maybe being a bit of a shit-disturber). As another bonus, he even visits the now-grown-up actor from his film The Traveler, even bringing a VHS copy of the film along with him. Most amusing is when Kiarostami talks to these former child performers, mentioning how reviews loved their performances but then reminds them he didnít think they were all that great. It ends up all being surprisingly fun and along the way we get a great overview of his work up to this point and the direction it was going afterwards. For those unfamiliar with Kiarostami this works as an excellent primer and I highly recommend it.

Following this is a new interview with Hamid Naficy, author of A Social History of Iranian Cinema, who (after starting things off with a quote from Akira Kurosawa about Kiarostami) talks about the history of Iranian cinema, the Iranian New Wave, and how Kiarostamiís films fit into this timeline, starting with his early films centered around children all the way through to his later, less-straightforward films.

Taken altogether all of the supplements on this disc offer an overview of Kiarostamiís films, starting with his early works, and how And Life Goes On and the experiences around it proved to be a defining moment for him.

8/10

CLOSING

Probably the strongest disc in the set, it offers a surprisingly sharp and clean presentation for the film and an excellent collection of supplements about how importantly this film plays into his career.




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Purchase From:
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