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Through the Olive Trees
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Produced by Abbas Kiarostami
Written by Abbas Kiarostami
Starring Hossein Rezai
Farhad Kheradmand
Mohamad Ali Keshavarz
Cinematography Hossein Jafarian
Editing by Abbas Kiarostami
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) February 17, 1995 (US)
Running time 103 minutes
Country Iran
Language Persian

Through the Olive Trees (Persian: Zire darakhatan zeyton) (زیر درختان زیتون) is a 1994 film directed and written by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, set in earthquake-ravaged Northern Iran.

It is the final part of Kiarostami's Earthquake Trilogy, and the plot revolves around the production of the second episode, Life, and Nothing More..., which itself was a revisitation of the first film, Where Is the Friend's Home?. Like many of Kiarostami's films, it is filmed in a minimalist, naturalistic way, while also being a complex study of the link between art and life, constantly blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality.



Hossein Rezai plays a local stonemason turned actor who, outside the film set, makes a marriage proposal to his leading lady, a student recently orphaned after the earthquake. The family of the girl finds his offer insulting however, as he is poor and illiterate, and the girl decides to evade him because of this. She continues evading him even when they are filming, as she seems to have trouble grasping the difference between her role and real life. The fictional couple takes part in what would be the filming of Life, and Nothing more....

The situation complicates further as Hossein still pursues the affections of the young actress while the film goes on. The director learns about this and tries to advise Hossein about what to do. He then illustrates their story and where the conflict began. The girl manages to finish the scene while Hossein woos her and then departs by walking as Hossein runs to follow her.

In a memorable scene, at a great distance, the girl finally gives an answer to Hossein and we are left with him walking to the green grass to wonder what response was given by the girl.


The film was well received amongst international cinema critics, especially in France, and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It won the Espiga de Oro at the 1994 Seminci in Valladolid. In particular, its ambiguous final scene has been widely discussed and celebrated.

Due to the differences between cultures, western viewers often fail to see that the girl shows interest in Hossein during the film, seeing her as completely cold towards the young man's attention.

Miramax Films had also acquired the United States distribution rights to Through the Olive Trees and the film was given a limited US theatrical release in 1995. However, Miramax Films hasn't released this movie on DVD yet.


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