Taste of Cherry

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami won the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for this contemplative film about a Muslim, Mr. Badi (Homayon Ershadi), who drives around the barren hills outside Tehran, flagging down passers by and offering good money for a simple job that he’s hesitant to explain. He’s planning his suicide and seeks someone to perform something of a symbolic eulogy.

Ali & Nino

Ali and Nino are upper-class teenagers living in Azerbaijan just before the outbreak of World War I. He is Muslim, and she is Christian—but despite their cultural differences, they love each other and get married despite the disapproval of their parents. When Ali takes her to spend several months in Persia, she realizes how much her freedom is being constrained. The clash between East and West and between traditional Muslim life and the twentieth-century independence of her upbringing is very striking. Then the Great War breaks out, and things take a turn for the worse. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]