About the programme
In the light of late afternoon, fields glitter gold, trees bow in the wind, and revelatory conversations unfold in cars winding their way through endlessly rolling hills.
Savour the sights and sounds of acclaimed Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s filmic universe with six essential works that define his unique style and vision, establishing his place among the masters of modern cinema.
Peeling back the surfaces of his deceptively simple storylines, Kiarostami meditates on the struggles of ordinary people amid the vicissitudes of life. Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987), the first film in Kiarostami’s Koker Trilogy (a designation coined by critics in reference to the films’ common setting in Northern Iran), follows a young schoolboy’s quest to return his classmate’s notebook, panning out onto wider questions of social and moral responsibility. The second instalment in the trilogy, And Life Goes On (1992), centres on a film director— Kiarostami’s on-screen persona—who visits Koker in search of the boys who acted in Where is the Friend’s House? Kiarostami redoubles these metacinematic addresses in Through the Olive Trees (1994), which centres on a young actor’s unyielding pursuit of a fellow actress behind the scenes of And Life Goes On.
By weaving in elements of semi-fiction and documentary, these films blur the lines between reality and art, asking where one ends and the other begins. Based on a true story, Close-Up (1990) stars a man who impersonates the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, probing what it means to represent or misrepresent oneself. In The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), Kiarostami calls into question the ethics of filmmaking. As we wait alongside a director who travels 450 miles hoping to capture a momentous death, the film unfolds with the enigmatic languor of a parable. Time takes on an altogether different texture and density in Taste of Cherry (1997), where splendid shots of the vast, sun-drenched landscape sensitise us to the beauty and tenderness of existence.
First presented by the Asian Film Archive as part of Retrospective: Abbas Kiarostami, these six films are back by popular demand. Together, they offer a vital introduction to the oeuvre of a director, poet, painter and photographer whose gentle humanism and playful insight into the art of filmmaking continue to reverberate through contemporary cinema.
6 Films by Abbas Kiarostami will run from 12-27 May 2023 at Oldham Theatre.
*Titles are in chronological order
Where is the Friend’s House (خانه دوست کجاست؟ / Khaneye doust kodjast?, 1987)
Close-Up (کلوزآپ / Kloze ap, nemay-e nazdik, 1990)
And Life Goes On ( زندگی و دیگر هیچ / Zendegi va digar hich, 1992)
Through the Olive Trees (زیر درختان زیتون / Zir-e derakhatan-e zeytun, 1994)
Taste of Cherry (طعم گیلاس / Ta’m-e gilas, 1997)
The Wind Will Carry Us (باد ما را خواهد برد / Bad ma ra khahad bord, 1999)
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