Abbas Kiarostami

16 Mar

In 1997, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his film, Touch of Cherry.  Regardless, Kiarostami remains relatively unknown in America to this day.  I fortunately heard about this great filmmaker through my friend George, who urged me to watch his films.

The Taste of Cherry DVD (Criterion Collection, 1999), includes videotaped interviews of Kiarostami.  His candid words deeply inspired and encouraged me the other night.  He emboldened me to follow my instincts and make the film I want to make.

What I don’t like, you don’t see in my films.  But in all, I don’t like to engage in telling stories.  I don’t like to arouse the viewer emotionally or give him advice.  I don’t like to belittle him or burden him with a sense of guilt.  Those are the things I don’t like in movies.

I think a good film is one that has a lasting power, and you start to reconstruct it right after you leave the theater.  There are a lot of films that seem to be boring, but they are decent films.  On the other hand, there are films that nail you to your seat and overwhelm you to the point that you forget everything, but you feel cheated later.   These are the films that take you hostage.

I absolutely don’t like the films in which the filmmakers take their viewers hostage and provoke them.  I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater.  I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater.

Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake me up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks.  Those are the kinds of films I like.



7 Responses to “Abbas Kiarostami”

  1. Rae April 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Your point of view I must say is one of a kind, and makes me stop & think differently. Thank u.

    • Christopher April 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

      Thanks, Rae… Just tryin’ to be real, you know?

  2. Will keeler March 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Hmm. Thought provoking stuff. I should see his films first though to get some context. Thanks chris.

  3. Miguel N. March 16, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Yeah Chris, Peter Soto and Hugo have been followers of Kiarostami for a while. I discover him on some World Cinema Class. Indeed, Taste of Cherry kept me wandering for days after I watched it.
    Thanks for the cuotes. It’s important to focus on the film we want to make, regardless of the market, current trends, and audiences’ expectations.

    Todd Solondz was yesterday in the Guadalajara Film Festival and said “The hardest thing in making a movie is to write a simple script”.

  4. Chuck Norton March 16, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Dude – I’m so interested in seeing this now!

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