Richly poetic, radically minimalist film by celebrated Iranian artist Abbas Kiarostami, featuring five extended, seemingly single-shot sequences by the sea.

Abbas Kiarostami is the most widely celebrated Iranian cultural figure of the last few decades. A prolific filmmaker, photographer, poet and artist, he creates work that appears simple and direct in terms of narrative while remaining conceptually complex. He is renowned as one of the most consistently innovative and visually imaginative filmmakers in the world.

Five (2003) was released theatrically by the BFI in May 2005 during a major London-wide festival of Kiarostami’s work (‘Visions of the Artist’), which included a complete retrospective and an on-stage Guardian Interview hosted by Geoff Andrew at the NFT (now BFI Southbank), as well as photographic exhibitions, installations and a conference at the V&A.

Five is a richly poetic, radically minimalist film, featuring five extended, seemingly single-shot sequences shot by the sea: a piece of driftwood is tossed by the waves; people stroll along a promenade; dogs gather on a beach; ducks cross noisily before the camera; and a pool of water reflecting the moon echoes with the croaking of frogs, a storm and other night sounds.

The sequences are not merely pretty pictures or a documentary record; very carefully constructed and manipulated, with a soundtrack meticulously assembled as a symphony of natural noise, they together comprise a kind of abstract narrative arc, moving from solitude to community, motion to rest, near-silence to birdsong.

Ending on a note of regeneration, Five’s choreographed action and inaction encourage and enable the viewer to engage with film in an unusually active way. A sublimely serene and contemplative response to the natural world, it gives audiences the opportunity to embrace an unusual yet richly rewarding cinematic experience.


Special features

  • The Making of Five (2005): Abbas Kiarostami’s reflections on film and the making of Five (52 min, Farsi with English subtitles).
  • Fully illustrated booklet with contributions from Geoff Andrew and Jonathan Romney.

Product information

    • Certificate


    • Colour


    • Sound


    • Running time


    • Original aspect ratio


    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Catalogue number


Back to the top

See something different

Subscribe now for exclusive offers and the best of cinema.