by Tina Hassannia

by Tina Hassannia Features Retrospective Film

Retrospective | Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016)

July 6, 2016
Kiarostami

Originally published August 15th, 2011 One of the most important filmmakers of the last 30 years emerged from a country famous for its brutal censorship, a nation that forces many artists to take up residence elsewhere if they wish to freely pursue their craft or, in some cases, even if they just want to stay alive. These unfortunate conditions turned out to be serendipitous for Abbas Kiarostami…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

Shirin | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
Shirin

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 all your hours outside, walking, breathing pollution, baking in the sun and avoiding half the population because they happen to be of the other gender. It takes some getting used to, to say the least. Then…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

Life, and Nothing More… | Abbas Kiarostami

September 5, 2011
Life and Nothing More

When Abbas Kiarostami made Where Is the Friend’s Home?, he had no intention of making a trilogy. But his next two films, Life, and Nothing More… and Through the Olive Trees, were coined as such by critics; each exists as a fiction film within the other, and all are centered around the village of Koker. Friend’s Home is treated as a fiction within the world of Life, while a scene from Life is seen being filmed in Olive Trees. The ‘Koker Trilogy’ tag stuck,…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

Through the Olive Trees | Abbas Kiarostami

September 5, 2011

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 Olive Trees is the closest we get to lust and young love in Kiarostami’s oeuvre, but its erotic power is frequently overlooked by Western critics—it has to be subtle. The film immediately distinguishes itself as being something different from the…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

Where Is the Friend’s Home? | Abbas Kiarostami

September 5, 2011
Where Is the Friend's Home

The Iranian cinema is abundant with films about children (The White Balloon and Children of Heaven being the two classic popular examples). Where Is the Friend’s Home? in many respects began the trend of Iranian child-themed films and is the most culturally significant to date for a number of reasons. Foremost, it was the first film in a few decades to garner attention outside Iran. It is ostensibly a neorealist film in the style of Bicycle Thieves: a young boy must return…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

The Report | Abbas Kiarostami

August 22, 2011
the-report

Ostensibly beyond Abbas Kiarostami’s typical terrain—particularly because of its complete lack of optimism—The Report feels like a puzzle piece from another game, if only at first. With the exception of its well-known domestic abuse scene, this cold, embittered “report” on Iranian life circa 1977 is less interested in overt depravity than it is in the revelatory comments and gestures of periphery characters, which signify a deeper intersection of attitudes and morals (this also reminds the viewer that they are, indeed, watching…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

A Suit for Wedding | Abbas Kiarostami

August 22, 2011
A Suit for Wedding

Despite its perfectly befitting narrative set-up, and however enjoyable it is to watch, Abbas Kiarostami’s A Suit for Wedding doesn’t entirely live up to its potential. Three working-class apprentices secretly “borrow” an expensive suit from the tailor shop that employs one of the boys. There is some (heated) debate about who will wear the suit for the night. The next morning, a mad scramble ensues to return the suit in one piece before the boss shows up. This mid-’70s minor work…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

The Experience | Abbas Kiarostami

August 22, 2011
The Experience

The Experience is far removed from what most consider Abbas Kiarostami’s feature debut, The Traveller, despite preceding it by only one year. It shows the director’s potential even within a short narrative (just over 50 minutes), and is more complex than his two previous shorts. In a curiously amusing way befitting Kiarostami, The Experience has been ill-fittingly described as a “love melodrama,” when in fact it’s a fairly obvious subversion of a sub-genre famous in Iranian cinema: the poor-boy-falls-for-rich-girl movie. Its protagonist, Mamad,…

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by Tina Hassannia Retrospective Film

Homework | Abbas Kiarostami

August 22, 2011
Homework

Abbas Kiarostami has never been shy of image manipulation in his documentary films. One almost hesitates to call Close Up a documentary, for instance, because of this manipulation, since no one can truly understand how much has been restaged or “acted” and how much should be taken as truth. Certain dubious scenes in Close Up—namely, Sabzian’s trial—pose more philosophical questions about the entire cinematic exercise than they answer, which is partially why the film is ultimately rewarding. Kiarostami’s post-Revolution preoccupation with…

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