Monday, 4 July 2016

OBIT - ABBAS KIAROSTAMI


Today is a tragic day for cinema, as I report on the death of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. The 76-year-old had been diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer in March; he died in Kabul today, the 4th of July. Kiarostami eked out a highly personal style of cinema right from his origins as a key figure in the Iranian New Wave in the 1970s, a style that would become internationally celebrated upon the release of his 1987 breakthrough film, Where Is the Friend's Home? From there, through a seminal trilogy in the early '90s, a number of acclaimed documentaries, and five nominations for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, he would go on to be known as one of the world's most important, influential film artists. His films consistently received critical adulation, no matter what their infinite varities: films in Iranian, French, Japanese, English, narrative and documentary films alike, and a sympathetic streak that marked him as much a committed humanitarian as he was a skilled formalist. A Cannes Palme d'Or, four major awards from the Venice Film Festival including a FIPRESCI Prize, and four more awards from Locarno including another FIPRESCI Prize, an Ecumenical Prize and a Leopard of Honour confirm Kiarostami's status as among the foremost cinematic talents of our time. Among his most notable films were Close-Up, Through the Olive Trees, Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, Ten and Certified Copy. What an enormous loss for the filmmaking and film-watching community.