As many of you may have already heard, Iran’s most famous contemporary filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has passed away at the age of 76. Known for helping to spark a new wave of Iranian filmmakers after successful films in the 1980’s, 90’s, and 2000’s including Where is the Friend’s Home?, Close-Up, Through the Olive Trees, Taste of Cherry, and Certified Copy.
Kiarostami’s meditative but accessible realist style proved to be enormously successful throughout his career, winning the Palme D’Or in 1997 for Taste of Cherry, a Silver Lion in 1999 for The Wind Will Carry Us, as well as praise from influential industry leaders like Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, and Nanni Moretti. Abbas Kiarostami is one of the few Iranian directors to achieve fame in the Western world, and his influence can be felt in independent and mainstream cinema around the world.
While he may be gone, Kiarostami’s legacy will be carried on by contemporary Iranian filmmakers like Jafar Panahi and Academy Award winning Asghar Farhadi. His meditations on life, death, and everything in between will continue to inspire audiences for years to come, and will hopefully influence viewers to explore world cinema as a whole.
Rest in peace, Abbas Kiarostami. I cannot describe in words the influence that your films have had on me, nor can I express my appreciation for helping to open my eyes to films made around the world. Cinema has lost a true great.