24 Frames ★★★½

Abbas Kiarostami, the great Iranian postmodernist who died last summer at the age of 76, used to say that he preferred the kind of movies that put their audience to sleep. “Some films have made me doze off in the theater,” he would explain, “but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for for weeks.” So while I passed out (and passed out hard) roughly 15 minutes into “24 Frames,” the fascinating, posthumously completed non-narrative project that will serve as Kiarostami’s final farewell, I suspect that he wouldn’t take my unconsciousness as a criticism or a show of disrespect.

On the contrary, I imagine that he would have been delighted to see the dozens of nodding heads that dotted the film’s final Cannes screening, where the narcotic quality of Kiarostami’s cinema was compounded by the sheer exhaustion of simply coming to see it. He would have loved the low rumble of snores that filled the auditorium in surround sound. To some extent, he might have even appreciated the steady stream of walk-outs, or my decision to take a short walk halfway through and then watch the rest of the film while standing at the back of the room.

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