By Troy Patterson
Updated April 30, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

To see, or not to see? Abbas Kiarostami’s lavishly praised movie Taste of Cherry is set mostly in the Range Rover of a middle-aged Iranian named Mr. Badii, who plans to kill himself and is cruising the outskirts of Teheran to find someone who’ll bury his body afterward. The richly desolate landscape is the essence of what’s unquestionably poetic here — the conjuring of simple bliss and deep bleakness at once. But Badii is a man with no past and no motive, a brooding blank in a one-note story. If you’re inclined to project your own existential dilemmas onto him, then Cherry will seem a meditative masterpiece. If not, it’s an overmannered bore. B

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