Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Quotable Kiarostami (repost from 2009)

I've recently begun to delve into the work of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Believe it or not Iranian/Persian cinema has a long and glorious history stretching back to the 1930s. Kiarostami is it's most prominent representative working today. The following is from an interview with Iranian film scholar Dr. Jamsheed Akrami.

It’s difficult to talk about the things that I like because you see them in my films. It’s easier for me to talk about things that I don’t like. What I don’t like, you don’t see in my films. I don’t like to engage in telling stories. I don’t like to arouse the viewer emotionally or give him advice. I don’t like to belittle him or burden him with a sense of guilt. Those are the things I don’t like in the movies.

I think a good film is one that has a lasting power, and you start to reconstruct it right after you leave the theater. There are a lot of films that seem to be boring, but they are decent films. On the other hand, there are films that nail you to your seat and overwhelm you to the point that you forget everything, but you feel cheated later. These are the films that take you hostage. I absolutely don’t like the films in which the filmmakers take their viewers hostage and provoke them.

I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater. I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater. Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks. Those are the kind of films I like.

Kiarostami died yesterday at age 76. His life's work will live on.

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