24 Frames

24 Frames ★★★★½

89

A photo-chemical reversal. The beginning of Abbas Kiarostami's final film, depicting 'The Hunters in the Snow' from 1565, is a birth of the universe moment from which all of cinema bellowed out, much like the smoke stacks given life as the painting begins to be (selectively) animated. Each image is a complete existence, contextualized by sound and living things passing in and out of frame, a reminder of what is beyond and what is visible. They're encased in time - frozen, forever the same, and yet they move with startling unpredictability. Each 'frame' is constructed out of many, many individual frames, but their fixed nature doesn't cancel a potent sense of replication - a lack of capture giving way to manipulation. Their jittery, robotic details are a sublime representation of mimicking what is possible - that we can go out with a camera and capture the real thing. These photos and moments surely affected Kiarostami, and he let them free. Its ending might be as close as anyone has ever gotten to solving the enigma of the cinema. Essential.

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