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“Film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.” —Jean-Luc Godard "Kiarostami represents the highest level of artistry in the cinema." —Martin Scorsese
A retrospective of Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami (1940-2016) highlighting The Koker Trilogy and the films that brought him international renown as well as some key early work from the 70s—all restorations undertaken by the Criterion Collection and MK2, with the invaluable contribution of Abbas’ son, Ahmad Kiarostami.
"Abbas Kiarostami deserves more credit than any other single director for fueling the recent rise of Iranian cinema, arguably the most dramatic film development of the past dozen years. The excitement started when his slyly reflexive CLOSE-UP reached the international circuit in the early Nineties, and crested when his extraordinary TASTE OF CHERRY shared the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1997. While a handful of his Iranian colleagues have also achieved a fair share of Western recognition—including Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Jafar Panahi, both of whom have collaborated with him—he has remained the most highly visible figure, thanks to films like the so-called Koker trilogy (WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE?; AND LIFE GOES ON; THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES) that have earned ecstatic reviews and drawn enthusiastic art-house audiences in Europe and the United States." —David Sterritt, Film Comment
The 2K digital restoration of The Koker Trilogy was undertaken by the Criterion Collection from 4K scans of the 35 mm original camera negatives. The remaining 2K and 4K restorations were undertaken by MK2 in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata from 2K or 4K scans of the best available elements.
Fri, Oct 18 | Sun, Oct 20 | Wed, Oct 23
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, TASTE OF CHERRY is an emotionally complex meditation on life and death. Middle-aged Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) drives through the hilly outskirts of Tehran—searching for someone to rescue or bury him.
Fri, Oct 18 | Thu, Oct 24
From youthful conundrums to that of older age as well, Kiarostami's ongoing work in the short film format comes into focus in this vibrant program of five short films shot across a span of six years.
Sat, Oct 19 | Wed, Oct 23
Late in Kiarostami’s first decade as a working filmmaker, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 took hold. It serves here as a bridge between these two short features: The first, a satiric yet suspenseful tale of three kids and something of value that doesn’t belong to them. The second, a lesson in solidarity, ideology and resistance.
Sat, Oct 19 | Tue, Oct 22
Frustrated parent Abbas Kiarostami interviews young Iranian boys about problems encountered when completing difficult homework requiring intensive collaboration with their parents. Preceded by two early educational shorts (So Can I and Two Solutions for One Problem).
Sat-Sun, Oct 19-20 | Tue, Oct 22
This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves.
Sun, Oct 20 | Thu, Oct 24
A TV crew from Tehran arrives in a remote Kurdish village to film an unusual funeral ceremony—but are stymied when the old woman they expect to die clings to life. A fable-like story about professional and personal frustration, this droll drama is the most tantalizingly opaque and allusive of Kiarostami’s films, containing numerous references to poetry and several key figures (including the old woman) who are never seen.