Monthly Archives

September 2011

by Daniel Gorman Retrospective

Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011

In an interview with Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, Abbas Kiarostami recited a verse from the poet Rumi: “You are my polo ball, running before the stick of my command. I am always running after you, though it is I who make you move.” It’s easy to see why Kiarostami would be attracted to such a sentiment; his own directorial methods illustrate precisely such a poetic contradiction. The dialectic between documentary realism and the mediating hand of the filmmaker is…

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by Calum Marsh Retrospective

Certified Copy | Abbas Kiarostami

To engage with something critically is to assume, despite any post-structural handwringing, that the works with which we’re engaged contain some essential truth. That’s the conceit of all criticism: beyond projections of the reader, the personal prisms through which X looks like Y and vice versa, we’re required…

September 25, 2011
by Tina Hassannia Retrospective

Shirin | Abbas Kiarostami

You’re not allowed to know the Iranian Woman. Not truly, anyway—not personally, and don’t even think about intimately. Not in public. In public, you must treat her with “respect,” which apparently means pretending she doesn’t exist—you mustn’t make eye contact. As a female tourist in Iran, you spend…

September 25, 2011
by Daniel Gorman Retrospective

10 on Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

There’s at least a few reasons for the near total lack of critical interest in Abbas Kiarostami’s 10 on Ten, not the least of which is its near unclassifiable nature. It’s not quite an essay film, at least not in the Chris Marker sense,…

September 25, 2011
by Kenji Fujishima Retrospective

Five Dedicated to Ozu | Abbas Kiarostami

Even in his earlier, more relatively conventional films, Abbas Kiarostami always maintained an eye for radical formal experimentation. Close Up, for instance, is as much a meditation on the possibilities of fiction in capturing reality as it is a moving docudrama about an ordinary…

September 25, 2011
by Brendan Peterson Retrospective

ABC Africa | Abbas Kiarostami

In 2001, at the request of the United Nations, Abbas Kiarostami traveled to Africa to scout locations and shoot raw footage for a film focussing on the lives of Ugandan orphans. His previous experience working with children made him the perfect candidate to work…

September 25, 2011
by Tina Hassannia Retrospective

Through the Olive Trees | Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami has mostly stayed away from love stories—he tends to find it impossible in his films to recreate situations that even remotely hint at intimacy, his art being so closely monitored by authorities whose conservative religious values disallow any such representation. Through the…

September 5, 2011
by Calum Marsh Retrospective

Taste of Cherry | Abbas Kiarostami

Part of the appeal of a film like Taste of Cherry—Kiarostami’s minimalist masterpiece, all white-canvas stretches of silence and inaction—lies in its openness to interpretation, in how it invites us to invest meaning in it rather than simply extract the meaning imposed upon it.…

September 5, 2011
In Review | Online film and music criticism