Abbas Kiarostami

"Employing simple imagery of daily life with an emphasis on the Iranian landscape, Kiarostami is a master of using visual imagery to convey abstract philosophical ideas and his characters’ inner struggles of the soul." - Mita Lad (Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, 2006)

Abbas Kiarostami

Director / Screenwriter / Editor / Producer / Cinematographer
(1940- ) Born June 22, Teheran, Iran
Top 250 Directors / 21st Century's Top 50 Directors

Key Production Countries: Iran, France
Key Genres: Drama, Documentary, Docudrama, Short Films, Avant-garde/Experimental
Key Collaborators: Marin Karmitz (Producer), Ali Reza Zarrin (Producer), Farhad Kheradmand (Leading Actor), Mahmoud Kalari (Cinematographer), Homayun Payvar (Cinematographer), Farhad Saba (Cinematographer), Ali Reza Zarrindast (Cinematographer), Peyman Yazdanian (Composer), Kheda Barech Defai (Character Actor), Babak Ahmed Poor (Character Actor), Ahmed Ahmed Poor (Character Actor)

"The fact that Iranian cinema is considered one of the best in the world is mainly due to Abbas Kiarostami, whose films play brilliantly with audiences' perceptions of cinema... Although Kiarostami has said, "I don't invent material. I just watch and take it from the daily life of people around me, " his realism is carefully constructed." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"Kiarostami studied fine art and worked as a graphic designer before making his directorial debut with The Bread and the Alley (1970). A key figure in Iranian film-making, he eschews conventional narrative and professional actors to offer deceptively simple poetic reflections on everyday life and death in his country." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"The films of Iranian master Kiarostami, while succeeding partly as oblique but illuminating reflections of his country's recent history, occupy a more fertile territory somewhere between documentary and self-reflexive, modernist drama... Kiarostami's humane compassion for his characters shines bright, his simple compositions and stories and long takes a mark of deep respect for their quiet integrity and strength of spirit." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"Kiarostami gained recognition in the West from the late eighties with films such as Close-Up (1989), the true story of a film buff who impersonates a famous director, and Through the Olive Trees (1994), part of a trilogy about an earthquake-struck village; but he first began making films in the Shah's day. Often compared to Satyajit Ray, Vittorio De Sica and Eric Rohmer, his films are admired for the poetic simplicity with which they tackle some of life's most complex issues." - The Movie Book, 1999
"Abbas Kiarostami is a fascinating figure. He represents a country that may be regaining its imagination. We need to attend. But if this is modern movie mastery, then our medium is gone and this is funerary art." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"A poet, painter and photographer, Abbas Kiarostami is a minimalist master, the finest filmmaker to emerge from the specific cultural conditions prevalent in Iran at the end of the twentieth century and arguably the most formally adventurous director of his generation. At first blush, it's easy to underestimate his slow, subtle cinema, predicated as it is on long fixed-camera shots, minimal cutting, naturalistic mise en scène, and a syntax of repetition and elision." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Kiarostami’s achievement rests on a complex combination of factors, one of which is that his films can be utterly, beautifully simple. Kiarostami is a humanist artist, with a strong commitment to stories of ordinary life. "My technique is similar to collage," he has said. "I collect pieces and put them together. I don’t invent material. I just watch and take it from the daily life of people around me." - Robert Horton (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 2000)
"I can watch films and say how technically beautiful they are, but I'm not impressed by any technicality." - Abbas Kiarostami
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
A Taste of Cherry (1997) , The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)
Recommended
Where is the Friend's Home? (1987) , Close-Up (1990) , And Life Goes On… (1992) , Through the Olive Trees (1994) , Ten (2002) , Certified Copy (2010)
Worth a Look
The Traveller (1974), The Wedding Suit (1976), The Report (1977), Homework (1989), Five Dedicated to Ozu (2003), Shirin (2008)
Approach with Caution
Orderly or Disorderly (1981), Tickets (2005) [also directed by Ken Loach & Ermanno Olmi], Roads of Kiarostami (2006)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
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Films / Books
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