Abbas Kiarostami

Abbas Kiarostami was born on June 22, 1940 in Teheran, Iran. He is the most influential and controversial post-revolutionary Iranian filmmaker and one of the most highly celebrated directors in the international film community of the last decade. He has a degree in fine arts, and has worked extensively as a screenwriter, film editor, art director, and producer. He is also a poet, photographer, painter, illustrator and graphic designer. In 1969 Kiarostami helped create a filmmaking department at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. The department's debut production was Kiarostami's own first film, Bread and Alley (1970) a neo-realistic short film about a schoolboy's confrontation with an aggressive dog. Kiarostami belongs to a generation of filmmakers who created the so called New Wave, a movement in Iranian cinema that started in the ‘60s, before the revolution of 1979, and flourished in the ‘70s. In the 28 years since Bread and Alley, Kiarostami has made more than 20 films, including fiction features, educational shorts, feature-length documentaries, and a series of films for television. He has also written screenplays for other directors, most notably The White Balloon, for his former assistant Jafar Panahi.
Although Kiarostami made several award-winning films early in his career, it was after the revolution that he earned a highly esteemed reputation on the stage of world cinema. 20 years after his ground-breaking debut feature, Report (1977), he was awarded the prestigious Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award at the Cannes International Film Festival for his film Taste of Cherry in 1997.
What distinguishes Kiarostami's style is his unique but unpretentious poetic and philosophic vision. Not only does he break away from conventional narrative and documentary filmmaking, he also challenges the audience's role. He plays with their expectations and provokes their creative imagination. His films invite the viewer to reflect, confront stereotypes, and actively question their assumptions.
For Kiarostami the untold or unexplained parts of his films are created in the minds of his audience. What is presented as obscure or hidden becomes clear and apparent through the audience's imagination. In this way, the audience member becomes responsible for the clarity that she/he expects from the film. Kiarostami is also known for his use of contemporary Iranian poetry in the dialogue, titles, and themes of his films. Using a deceptive simplicity to explore very complex issues, he stresses the importance of material over technique. Taking his inspiration and story ideas from the people around him and the observations of everyday life, and stressing a natural, improvisational approach from his actors, Kiarostami has said:

"I think that technique for technique's sake is a big lie, as it doesn't answer real feelings and real needs."




Bread and Alley (1970, short)

Jahan Nama Palace (1972, documentary short)

Recess/Breaktime (1972, short)

The Experience  (1973, short feature)

The Traveler  (1974, short feature)

Two Solutions for One Problem (1975, short)

So Can I (1975, short)

The Colours (1976, short)

The Wedding Suit  (1976, short feature)

Tribute to the Teachers  (1977, short)

How We Should Use Our Free Time (1977, short)

Report (1977, feature)

Solution (1978, short)

Case No. 1, Case No. 2  (1979, documentary)

Toothache (1980, short)

Orderly or Disorderly/Regularly or Irregularly (1981, short)

The Chorus (1982, short)

Fellow Citizen (1983, short documentary)

Fear and Suspicion (1984)

First Graders (1985, documentary feature)

Where is the Friend's Home? (1987, feature)

Homework (1990, documentary feature)

Close-Up (1990, docudrama feature)

Life and Nothing More…/…And Life Goes On (1992, feature)

Through the Olive Trees  (1994, feature)

A Propos de Nice, la suite (1995, feature of sketches)

Lumière & Company (1996, feature composed of short segments)

Birth of Light  (1997, short)

Taste of Cherry (1987, feature)

The Wind Will Carry Us  (1999, feature)

A.B.C. Africa (2001, documentary feature)

Ten (2002, feature)

Five Dedicated to Ozu(2003, documentary)

10 on Ten  (2004, documentary)

Tickets (2005, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, Ken Loach and Ermano Olmi)

White Pages (2005 short, supervisor)

Roads of Kiarostami (2006, documentary short)

Kojast jaye residan  (2007, documentary short)

To Each His Own Cinema (2007  segment "Where is my Romeo?", commissioned for the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival)

Shirin (2008, feature)

Certified Copy (2010, feature)

No   (2010, documentary short)

Like Someone in Love (2012, feature)



1992: Prix Roberto Rossellini

1992: Prix Cine Decouvertes

1993: François Truffaut  Award

1995: Pier Paolo Pasolini Award

1997: Federico Fellini Gold Medal, UNESCO

1997: Palme d'Or, Cannes Festival

1999: Honorary Golden Alexander Prize, Thessaloniki Film Festival

1999: Silver Lion, Venice Film Festival

2000: Akira Kurosawa Award

2003: Honorary doctorate, École Normale Supérieure

2003: Konrad Wolf Prize

2005: President of the Jury for Caméra d'Or Award, Cannes Festival

2005: Fellowship of the British Film Institute

2005: Gold Leopard of Honor, Locarno Film Festival

2006: Prix Henri-Langlois Prize

2007: Honorary doctorate, University of Toulouse

2007: World's great masters, Kolkata Film Festival

2008: Glory to the Filmmaker Award, Venice Film Festival

2010: Honorary doctorate, University of Paris


background image:
still frame from the movie Like someone in love (2013)

When you take a tree that is rooted in the ground, and transfer it from one place to another, the tree will no longer bear fruit. And if it does, the fruit will not be as good as it was in its original place.
This is a rule of nature. I think if I had left my country, I would be the same as the tree.
Abbas Kiarostami