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Abbas Kiarostami

  • Iranian director
  • Born June 22, 1940

Abbas Kiarostami (Persian: عباس کیارستمی‎ [ʔæbˌbɒːs kijɒːɾostæˈmi] (listen); 22 June 1940 – 4 July 2016) was an Iranian film director, screenwriter, poet, photographer, and film producer. An active film-maker from 1970, Kiarostami had been involved in the production of over forty films, including shorts and documentaries. Kiarostami attained critical acclaim for directing the Koker trilogy (1987–1994), Close-Up (1990), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), and Taste of Cherry (1997), which was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year.


I've often noticed that we are not able to look at what we have in front of us, unless it's inside a frame.




Cinema seats make people lazy. They expect to be given all the information. But for me, question marks are the punctuation of life.




My way of expression is full of complications and mystery because that's my perception of life.




There is violence in real life but I would never impose violence in a film just to attract the audience.




Religion works on some people but not on everyone, because it says, 'Stop thinking and accept what I tell you.' That's not valid for people who want to think and reflect.




I am a citizen of the world.




Film is very much a universal and common voice, and we can't limit it to one particular culture.




The day we run out of petrol is the day Iran will be free.




From my very first movie, what was my concentration, my inspiration, was I didn't want to narrate something, I didn't want to tell a story. I wanted to show something, I wanted for them to make their own story from what they were seeing.




I film normal-life subjects in natural settings that some people would consider uncinematic. But what I want to show is nature itself, as the truth of life.




I think I really produce my best work in Iran.




A movie is about human beings, about humanity.




I spend a lot of time doing carpentry. Sometimes there is nothing that gives me the contentment that sawing a piece of wood does.




All the different nations in the world, despite their differences of appearance and religion and language and way of life, still have one thing in common, and that is what's inside of all of us. If we X-rayed the insides of different human beings, we wouldn't be able to tell from those X-rays what the person's language or background or race is.




Everybody knows that I am not usually patient enough to actually sit down and watch one of my own films from the beginning to the end - I never do.




Some movies bring out the creativity in you. Every single audience member can become creative in the face of a particular movie. If you happen to like my films, it's because my films provide a bed for you on which you can find your creativity. The Hollywood movies do not provide that for you.




Poetry always runs away from you - it's very difficult to grasp it, and every time you read it, depending on your conditions, you will have a different grasp of it. Whereas with a novel, once you have read it, you have grasped it.




I have no advice for anyone on how to live.




My films have been progressing towards a certain kind of minimalism, even though it was never intended. Elements which can be eliminated have been eliminated.




I really enjoy listening to stories. I remember them and keep them in my mind.




Good cinema is what we can believe, and bad cinema is what we can't believe.




I never reflect or convey that which I have not experienced myself.




I really think that I don't mind people sleeping during my films, because I know that some very good films might prepare you for sleeping or falling asleep or snoozing. It's not to be taken badly at all. This is something I really mean.




In order to be universal, you have to be rooted in your own culture.




There are at least two retrospectives of my work each year in some country.




Usually when I take my films to festivals, I feel incredibly anxious about them. I wonder how it will be received, how the audience will react. I feel deeply responsible for them.




I think Woody Allen is Woody Allen, and no matter where he goes he still makes his Woody Allen films.




Digital photography is, by definition, unfinished. You don't feel that after every 24 or 36 shots you have to change your film - you know you can go on for ever if you want. You can see the result immediately, and find out if your original idea is worth going on with or not, whether it can be corrected, whether it can be improved.




In the total darkness, poetry is still there, and it is there for you.




To me, AIDS is an international epidemic and every country can be affected by it. Therefore, it can be discussed on an international level. Unfortunately, AIDS doesn't require a visa.




The world is my workshop. It is not my home.




I think violence can never be justified.




I never really learned photography.




I can watch films and say how technically beautiful they are, but I'm not impressed by any technicality.




If you are a businessman or a politician in Iran, you can get a visa as quickly as you ask for it.




I don't know whether it is fortunate or unfortunate, but I have no such thing as national pride. I don't feel proud that I am Iranian. I happen to be who I am.



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