Film Review – 24 Frames (2017, Criterion Collection)

24 Frames is the last work of Abbas Kiarostami, posthumously released on the Criterion Collection after his death in 2016. 24 Frames consists of 24 short films shot by Kiarostami as an experimental project which took up the last three years of his life. A renowned experimental film and documentary maker, Kiarostami’s work began in 1970 and ever since then he has been consistently releasing his art into the world whilst also gaining worldwide acclaim as a photographer, painter and poet. In 24 Frames, Kiarostami uses a different lens to take pictures which depict the quietness of life and yet with a little movement, music and the sounds of nature, Kiarostami’s pictures come to life and somehow manages to tell a story in each of his frames. A special collection of stories no doubt made all the more unique knowing that the camera never moves away from a single frame.

Mostly in black and white with the occasional exception, Kiarostami’s work shows the beauty of nature from still snowy fields, a moment of quietness between a group of friends and the colourful and yet calming African plains and yet still keeps his audience’s attention by the smallest of movements. Each frame (or short film) feels like a painting or a realistic animation and while the audience is taken in by the beauty of what they are seeing, things start happening which makes the audience sit up and watch the world go by as Kiarostami sees it. Often the scenes are accompanied by rain or snow and it feels as if the weather is pouring down onto a canvas rather than being an integral part of the picture an yet it further enhances them to become a three-dimensional vision which fleshes out the world in the smallest of ways.

Often featuring animals (birds especially, particularly crows), Kiarostami’s work uses these creatures to tell their own stories. 24 Frames turns into a study of mindfulness and imagination simultaneously as while the audience is relaxed by the beauty of Kiarostami’s work, they may find that their minds wander. Viewing the stunning pictures that Kiarostami has taken may be enough for most fans of his work, but once the images start to move then it gives the audience a chance to see the quiet of nature which can occasionally be surreal, moving and shocking.

World Cinema, Drama, Shorts | Iran, 2017 | Out Now | Blu-Ray | Criterion Collection | Dir.Abbas Kiarostami

– 2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
– New interview with director Abbas Kiarostami’s son Ahmad Kiarostami, who helped finish the film after his father’s death
– New conversation between Iranian film scholar Jamsheed Akrami and film critic Godfrey Cheshire
– New short documentary about the making of the film by Abbas Kiarostami collaborator Salma Monshizadeh

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