The most acclaimed and influential of Iran’s major filmmakers, Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran on June 22nd, 1940. His films are characterised by a poetic and contemplative style that often blurs the boundaries between fiction and documentary whilst capturing the beauty of simplicity in both narrative and visuals.

The Koker Trilogy (Where is the Friends House?, And Life Goes On, Through the Olive Trees), named after the village where much of their action was filmed, introduced Kiarostami to the world. Close-up (1990) has been voted the best Iranian film ever made by international critics. Taste of Cherry (1997) became the first Iranian film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes; the film was one of several by the director to be banned in Iran while enjoying international success. His final film of this remarkable period, The Wind Will Carry Us (1999) won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. In the new century, Kiarostami broadened his creative focus, devoting more time to photography, installation art, poetry, and teaching, and embraced low-budget digital filmmaking. Beginning at the end of the decade, he went abroad to make two features: Certified Copy (2010), starring Juliette Binoche, in Italy, and Like Someone in Love (2012) in Japan. At the time of his death in 2016, he was preparing a movie to be made in China.

All season notes by David O’Mahony, unless otherwise stated.


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