Profile: Abbas Kiarostami
Certified Copy's director's film history
Teheran, Iran, 1940.
Kiarostami worked as a graphic designer before joining the Centre for Intellectual Development Of Children And Young Adults where he started a film section. His first film The Bread And Alley (1970) tells of the confrontation between a young boy and an angry dog. His early work is characterised by a documentary-like evocation of everyday life and his particular affinity with children and rural communities. In the West, he was hailed as a standard bearer for the neo-realist traditions of post-War Italian cinema. He won the Cannes Palme D’Or for A Taste Of Cherry (1997) and has subsequently gravitated towards a more minimalist aesthetic. His work as a photographer and video artist has influenced his move towards long takes, static framing and experimental pieces like Five (2003) and Shirin (2008) in which he focuses on the faces of a group of women as they watch and react to a film screening.
What’s he up to now? His new film Certified Copy is the first full-length feature he has made outside of Iran and the first time he has worked extensively with an established international star like Juliette Binoche. It is a typically playful, subversive romantic comedy examining familiar themes of the relationship between life and art, reality and representation.
On minimalism ‘My films have been progressing towards a certain kind of minimalism, even though it was never intended. Elements that can be eliminated have been eliminated.
Somebody who referred to the paintings of Rembrandt and his use of light pointed this out to me: some elements are highlighted while others are obscured or even pushed back into the dark.’
On Certified Copy ‘It is actually based on something that happened to me ten, 15, maybe even 20 years ago – I’ve no real sense of time. And I wonder whether the woman in question, if she sees the film, will recognise herself. Is it just a memory I myself kept from what happened? After all, we spent just one day together.’
Interesting facts Kiarostami once supported himself by working as a traffic policeman. He has also received considerable acclaim for Walking With The Wind, a collection of spare poems in the haiku tradition
Certified Copy, selected release, Fri 3 Sep.