Programmed by Shanice Casimiro
This series was supported by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1990) · Close-Up focuses on the true story of Hossain Sabzian, a modest man arrested for impersonating his favorite filmmaker, Mohsen Makhmalbaf. In a masterful blend of fiction and nonfiction, the film re-enacts the events surrounding his trial with Sabzian and the family he conned, interspersing in real trial footage. The result is an intimate portrayal of a man's self-discovery. Only through Kiarostami's scrupulous lens does it demonstrate the power of art.
runtime: 98 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1977) · One of the films banned in the years leading up to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is Kiarostamiís The Report. Mahmad, a tax collector, struggles to preserve his marriage to a distressed wife (Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo) in the wake of accusations of taking bribes. It is a rare treat to experience this feature on the big screen, since the master negatives were destroyed in a fire.
runtime: 112 min format: DVD
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1974) · All Qassem wants is a ticket to see his favorite soccer team play in Tehran. With no money and indifferent parents, he takes matters into his own hands and travels all over his small town trying to collect enough cash for a ticket, regardless of the consequences of his actions. The Traveler is a layered social commentary disguised as a simple morality tale. In Close-Up, Sabzian references the film, comparing himself to Qassem's friend who is used and "left behind." Print courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection at the Academy Film Archive.
runtime: 70 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1997) · Displaying the auteur's signature style--an interior car journey, no background score, long takes--Taste of Cherry takes the viewer on a ride through the suburban streets of Tehran, with Badii (Homayon Ershadi), a stoic middle-aged man, at the wheel. He has only one request of each passenger: help him out of his grave if they find him alive in it the next day, or bury him if they find him dead. This film was honored with the Palme d'Or.
runtime: 99 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 1999) · A group of urbanite journalists pretending to be engineers visits a village to document the rituals that anticipate the death of an elderly woman. The tradition of the locals is at first reproached by the visitors' modern standards, but a young villager might be the only one who can change their minds. Literary allusions to Omar Khayyam and Forough Farrokhzad abound in this lyrical (and quite funny) exploration of human nature and the ethics of filmmaking.
runtime: 118 min format: DCP
(Abbas Kiarostami, 2001) · Ten is a rare opportunity to hear the voices of Iranian women under a government that actively silences them. In just ten scenes, a female taxi driver chauffeurs a slew of locals, including her son, a prostitute, and an elderly lady on her way to prayer. Untrained actors star in the film, which was shot with two dashboard video cameras and grossed a mere $105,656 in the US. Jafar Panahi's recent release, Taxi, was heavily influenced by Ten's structure.
runtime: 94 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 2010) · Tuscany is the setting in the first of Kiarostami's recent output of films made outside Iran. A French antiques seller (Juliette Binoche, Cannes Best Actress Award winner) is intrigued by a British intellect (opera star William Shimell, in his first film role) during his lecture on original art and its counterfeits. They plan to meet up, and in the course of what appears to be an afternoon, their relationship, as well as time, drastically shifts.
runtime: 106 min format: 35mm
(Abbas Kiarostami, 2012) · A shy widower finds himself in the services of a young, female student escort. To her surprise, he's more interested in keeping the relationship platonic, quickly becoming her protector from a jealous fianc√©. This haunting story forces the viewer to question the true identities and relationships of all those involved (as is implied in the title, itself a reference to the 1944 Jimmy van Heusen song), and draws our attention to off-screen space and sound.
runtime: 109 min format: DCP