1984, Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 84 min.
- Sat, Sep 14th 5:00pm
Ostensibly taking place within a single day at a Tehran primary school, Kiarostami's first documentary feature is usually regarded as a predecessor of his later treatment of schoolboys-on-the-spot, HOMEWORK. Except for a brief lyrical interlude involving a bike ride through the city, the film is divided into two spaces, the courtyard and the headmaster's office. The courtyard presents the boys en masse, lining up and performing calisthenics. Juvenile mischief often eludes the orderly discipline represented by the courtyard, and those miscreants are brought before the headmaster, a mostly offscreen presence who metes out justice to the boys squirming under the camera's gaze. Given the political situation of the time, FIRST GRADERS is sometimes interpreted as a commentary on authoritarianism, although the film's view of the headmaster is characteristically ambivalent, even admiring. In Persian with English subtitles. New DCP digital restoration. (MR)