Kiarostami, Abbas

Kiarostami, Abbas ăbôˈsā kēyôˈrōmămēˌ [key], 1940–2016, Iranian filmmaker. Widely acclaimed as Iran's greatest film director, he typically explores the lives of ordinary Iranians in his films, the realism of which is mingled with questions of a moral and philosophical nature and verges on parable. Early in his career he was a commercial artist and directed television commercials. In 1969 he founded a film division for a Tehran institute, which became a leading film studio; there he made his first film, the lyrical short Bread and Alley (1970). Kiarostami released his first full-length feature film in 1977. In the late 1980s his films began to be shown outside Iran, and he attracted major critical attention with Close-Up (1990), about a fraud. The film blurs the lines between the real and the fictional, mingling fiction and documentary, an approach he often employed; he also often mixed actors with non-actors. His other films include the Koker Trilogy (1987, 1992, 1994), named for the earthquake-ravaged (1990) village where the action mainly occurs; Taste of Cherry (1997), in which a man determined to commit suicide searches for someone willing to bury him; The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), in which many characters are heard but not seen; Ten (2002), which consists of ten cab rides; and the experimental Shirin (2008). The enigmatic Certified Copy (2011), in which a cultivated European couple may just have met or may be long married, was shot in Tuscany, his first feature made outside Iran. Completed posthumously, 24 Frames (2017) consists of 24 images, mostly his own stark landscape photographs, that become digitally animated vignettes. Kiarostami wrote screenplays, most famously for The White Balloon (1995), and also was a photographer and a poet.

See his Lessons with Kiarostami (tr. 2015, ed. by P. Cronin) and In the Shadow of Trees: The Collected Poetry of Abbas Kiarostami (tr. 2016, ed. by P. Cronin); G. Cheshire et al., Conversations with Kiarostami (2019); studies by M. Saeed-Vafa and J. Rosenbaum (2003), A. Elena (2005), and M. Abbott (2018).

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