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Abbas Kiarostami

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 Daniel Gorman Retrospective Film

Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
Ten

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 Film

Certified Copy | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
Certified Copy

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 to expect, or at the very least hope, that art has meaning and that this meaning is fixed. This assumption is useful in so far as it transforms speculation into interpretation, an act which commands authority. And it’s…

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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 Daniel Gorman Retrospective Film

10 on Ten | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
10 on Ten

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, although it does take the form of a personal lecture. It’s not exactly a documentary, but it does consist entirely of Kiarostami talking candidly about his films and his philosophy. Having said that, it’s not a philosophical…

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by Kenji Fujishima Retrospective Film

Five Dedicated to Ozu | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
Five Dedicated to Ozu

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 man so enraptured by art that he dares to impersonate one of his filmmaking idols. And though Taste of Cherry and The Wind Will Carry Us certainly don’t lack in human interest, both are also just as noteworthy…

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by Brendan Peterson Retrospective Film

ABC Africa | Abbas Kiarostami

September 25, 2011
ABC Africa

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 with these new subjects, and arming himself with a digital video camera, he recorded ten days of footage, capturing the harsh realities and amazing strengths of a people struggling to survive in a world with little…

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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 Calum Marsh Retrospective Film

Taste of Cherry | Abbas Kiarostami

September 5, 2011
Taste of Cherry

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. Minimalism is about encouraging reflection, on form and content both, but Taste of Cherry in particular betrays a deeper understanding of self-reflexivity: its languid pace and elliptical narrative function not only to underscore the passing of time…

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by Calum Marsh Retrospective Film

Close Up | Abbas Kiarostami

September 5, 2011
Close Up

Whether a film does or does not present the truth seems considerably less important to us than whether or not it intends to do so. That is, we don’t really care whether a movie is based in fact or based in fiction so much as whether it’s explicitly presented to us as fact or as fiction. We assume that a film will be true to its intentions, or that it will cohere with our idea of the reality which informs it.…

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