In his dust-covered Range Rover, Mr. Badii (Homayon Ershadi) winds up and down the rocky mountain passes in Tehran’s outskirts. He is searching for someone to perform a simple task—to come to a specified location the following morning and throw 12 spades of dirt on top of a shallow grave in which he will be lying. It is a job, in a country where religion and politics are so delicately interwoven, for which there are few eager applicants. From this deceptively simple scenario, Kiarostami creates a remarkable contemplation on the small miracles of everyday life and the elusive nature of happiness—a patient, poetic and profoundly beautiful work that confirmed its director as one of the masters of modern world cinema. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

“Mr. Kiarostami, like no other filmmaker, has a vision of human scale that is simultaneously epic and precisely minuscule … The camera continually draws back for long shots of soldiers marching in formation over the harsh landscape and of workers moving enormous piles of red dirt and rock with heavy equipment. Dogs bark in the distance, the wind blows, flocks of crows circle and descend and rise. You feel the pulse and rhythms of earthly life on a grand scale. —Stephen Holden, The New York Times