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The Films of Abbas Kiarostami

June 9, 2022 - June 20, 2022

Abbas Kiarostami’s influence is widely acknowledged amongst filmmakers, including the likes Scorsese and Kurosawa, but his extensive body of work is perhaps lesser known by broader Australian film audiences.

Known for his humanist (almost neo-realist) subject matter, Kiarostami’s work were integral to the Iranian New Wave movement and the emergence of Iranian cinema onto the world stage. His films conveyed a sense of intimacy with audiences, often focusing on conversations and small moments of interaction between characters, to probe gentle questions and explore contemplative narratives.

Intriguingly, Kiarostami’s would also often blend fiction and reality, with improvisational and documentary-style techniques. Close-Up (1990) (which will be screened as part of ACMI’s program) is an incredible example of this, with the documentary mainly constructed using reenactments by the real-life individuals embroiled in the story of Hossain Sabzian, a cinephile who tried convince a family to star in his ‘film’ by impersonating the director Mohsen Makhmalba.

Kiarostami’s later filmmaking during the 2000s was particularly powerful in presenting a different side of Iran to that depicted by western news outlets. This was a country home to people much like us, grappling with the same hopes, dreams, conflicts and moral questions.

Across ACMI’s showings, and additional screenings hosted by Melbourne Cinémathèque, there’s an opportunity for local audiences to experience Kiarostami’s entire catalogue. The ACMI line-up also includes a collection of Kiarostami’s short films, many of which haven’t been shown in Melbourne before.


Cinemas, Level 2 ACMI, Fed Square