46 Great Directors: Abbas Kiarostami

“In this type of cinema, whether working with actors or non-actors, as much as you do direct them, if you allow yourself to be directed by them, then the end result will be much more pleasing. The real and individual strengths of the actors is allowed to be expressed and is something that does affect the audience very deeply.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Close-Up.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Taste of Cherry.

What Did I Watch: Ten and Close-Up.

Where Does He Fit: Ten has a lot to recommend to it, especially as a contrast to Kiarostami’s masterpiece Taste of Cherry: long takes for the ages, with natural conversations playing out as we watch how a child reacts to his mother. Unfortunately, said child is unbearable, and the first conversation is a test of our willpower. It is all worth it in the end for the moment that constitutes a big reveal, but there’d be no fun in giving that away. The real joy is the nuances of finding out how women fit into Iranian society, from mothers to women with careers to just people in their own right.

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Close-Up is still a breaker of all the rules all these years later, however. The concept and its execution touch upon everything we watch movies for: bursts of truth in a situation of lies, or is it the other way around? The story of a man impersonating Makhmalbaf just because he wanted to create something beautiful, only to have it turned into an odd recreation and perverted in a lovely, heartfelt way is exactly what cinematic metaphysics were made for. Could a story like this ever be replicated in some capacity? A worthy legacy for a master of the art.

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Most Valuable Asset: A need to challenge, but be human.
Most Excited For: Where is the Friend’s Home?
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Purveyor of facts and fiction, Werner Herzog.

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