A preteen delinquent, charmingly unencumbered by either reality or morality, sets off on a miniature Odyssey to see a soccer match in Kiarostami’s first full-length feature, which recalls Truffaut’s The 400 Blows in youthful tenderness and toughness. Ten years old and dreaming, the soccer fanatic Qassem is determined to travel to Tehran to see his favorite team, and certainly won’t let a few tiny obstacles (like age, distance, money, or adults) stand in his way. Through improvised performances in real-life situations, and a poet’s feel for the heartbreak of youth, Kiarostami views the travels, travails, and frequent scams of this pint-sized Odysseus with nonjudgmental precision and heartfelt compassion, setting the stage for a bittersweet ending to the film, and a remarkable beginning to a film career.
Bread and Alley
(Nan va koutcheh)
Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1970
A hostile dog complicates a boy’s journey through an alley with a loaf of bread.