Abbas Kiarostami, an Iranian film director, screenwriter, photographer and producer passed away on July 4 in Paris at the age of 76, after traveling there to receive treatment for cancer.
Kiarostami was one of the most influential filmmakers in the industry. While other filmmakers of the Iranian New Wave fled the country after the 1979 revolution in hopes of gaining creative freedom, Kiarostami stayed put and managed to handle the obstacles brought on by the new regime.
“When you take a tree that is rooted in the ground, and transfer it from one place to another, the tree will no longer bear fruit,” he once said in an interview. “And if it does, the fruit will not be as good as it was in its original place. This is a rule of nature. I think if I had left my country, I would be the same as the tree.”
Kiarostami gained national recognition with films like “Where is the Friend’s Home?” and “Through the Olive Trees.” It didn’t take long for people to admire his uniquely bold cinematic style and originality. He truly was one of cinema’s greatest figures.
“At a time of war and isolation, when the whole world thought we are a warmongering country, Kiarostami showed another, peaceful face of Iran,” Professor and journalist Mehrdad Hodjati said of him in an interview. “He is an icon of change in Iran.”
To celebrate his life, the State Theatre is showing two of his films this week and next in tribute to Abbas Kiarostami. [“Taste of Cherry,”] won the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and [“Ten”] was nominated for the same award, among high rankings on numerous lists. Both films truly showcase the amazing talent that Abbas Kiarostami possessed. Check out our [calendar] for the dates and times of the tribute.
Director Jean-Luc Godard said it best, “Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.”