And Life Goes On (1992) follows a film director and his son who journey through the country in the aftermath of a major earthquake in search of survivors, including some of the nonprofessionals who acted in Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987).
This is the second film in the informal Koker Trilogy and is the first of Abbas Kiarostami’s major works to focus on a "director surrogate", a nonprofessional performer representing a version of the film director (here played by Farhad Kheradmand), in the aftermath of calamity. In this instance Kiarostami returns to the Koker region in the hopes of assessing the welfare of nonprofessional actors from the earlier production, Where Is the Friend’s House? in the aftermath of a major earthquake that hit the area in 1990.
The film stands out for integrating a number of techniques that would go on to be central in the director’s subsequent films. For example, the centrality of the automobile - a provisionally social space, providing windows onto the outside world, which has been seen by many as analogous to a movie theatre. Additionally, the investment in self-inquiry in place of a more pedagogical or perhaps paternalistic imperative - Kiarostami uses the director surrogate as a means to interrogate his preconceptions, blind spots, and privilege.
The combination of documentary and fiction becomes more explicitly a matter of experimental inquiry, whereby discovery and fabrication are combined into a single philosophical orientation. The film maintains a remarkable poetic openness in its repudiation of false knowledge and the insistence that life’s meaning is plural. As Aunt Lydia says in Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady: “there are as many points of view in the world as there are people of sense to take them.”
-Written by Jason Wierzba