In Honor of Iran's Icon of Contemporary Cinema

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Internationally-acclaimed Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami has passed away in France where he had been receiving treatment for cancer.

The 76-year-old award-winning scholar succumbed to a stroke in Paris on Monday, July 4 2016, a few days after leaving Tehran.

In March 2016, Kiarostami was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, following which he underwent a series of operations.

Following the news of his death, the New York-based cinema magazine The Film Stage said that "the world may have lost its greatest filmmaker."

Known for their modest style, dark realism, and sly humor, his films were usually shot in real locations, and with the use of non-actors.

His film The Wind Will Carry Us won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice film festival in 1999.

In 1997, Kiarostami’s film Taste of Cherry won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival.

In his late years, Kiarostami started to travel the world, making "Certified Copy" in Italy and "Like Someone in Love" in Japan.

Referring to his travels, he said he was attempting to make a narrative about "universal characters, that can be accessible to everyone."

During an interview with the Guardian from Tehran, Oscar-winning Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi said that he was shocked when he heard the news as he was due to fly to Paris to visit his old friend later that night. 

“He wasn’t just a filmmaker,” said Farhadi. “He was a modern mystic, both in his cinema and his private life. “

“He definitely paved ways for others and influenced a great deal of people. It’s not just the world of cinema that has lost a great man; the whole world has lost someone really great,” he added.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and top officials have expressed their condolences over the sad demise of internationally-acclaimed Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami.

President Rouhani said on his Twitter page on Tuesday, July 5 2016, that Kiarostami's "distinct and deep view to life and his invitation of humans to peace and friendship will be a lasting achievement” in cinema.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said on his Twitter page that Iran has lost "a towering figure" in international cinema and expressed hope that the Almighty would receive him “in his infinite mercy.”

Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a message also offered his condolences on the departure of the award-winning Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami.

'I was saddened by demise of the renowned and popular artist of our country late Abbas Kiarostami,' Ayatollah Rafsanjani said in his message.

'I extend my condolences to our country's artistic community, his colleagues, friends and especially his relatives on the occasion of the death of this famous movie director who conveyed the message of peace and friendship of the Iranian people to the entire world,' he added. 

Additionally, the French President François Hollande sent a message of condolences on July 5 on Kiarostami’s departure referring to the prominent filmmaker as a friend of France and a great artist.

President Hollande praised the director for forging 'close artistic ties and deep friendships' with France.

American director Martin Scorsese also issued a statement in the wake of Kiarostami’s passing, describing him as “one of those rare artists with a special knowledge of the world.” “Put into words by the great Jean Renoir: ‘Reality is always magic.’ For me, that statement sums up Kiarostami’s extraordinary body of work,” he added. 

Screening movies in Iranian cinemas was stopped on Tuesday night at 22 pm to pay tribute to the prominent Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami.

In a meeting which was held on Tuesday morning by the cinema officials in Iran, it was decided that several ceremonies be held to honour the acclaimed Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami who died in a hospital in Paris on July 4.

Friends and people of cinema gathered in Cinema Museum at 21 pm to pay homage to Kiarostami and sign memorial notebook. 

Kiarostami's body will be flown back to Iran next week for the funeral. 

He was born in 1940 in Tehran, and originally studied painting at the University of Tehran; Kiarostami began working as a graphic designer and went on to shoot dozens of commercials for Iranian TV.

In 1969 he joined the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults where he ran the film department, and was able to make his own films. 

Kiarostami had worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, art director and producer and has designed credit titles and publicity material.

He was also a poet, photographer, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer.

He was part of a generation of filmmakers in the Iranian New Wave, a Persian cinema movement that started in the late 1960s and includes pioneering directors such as Masoud Kimiai, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Dariush Mehrjui, Bahram Beyzai, Nasser Taghvai and Parviz Kimiavi.

These filmmakers share many common techniques including the use of poetic dialogue and allegorical storytelling dealing with political and philosophical issues.

May his soul rest in peace.

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم