Abbas Kiarostami, Palme d’Or-winning Iranian film-maker, dies aged 76

KiarostamiAndrew Pulver and Saeed Kamali Dehghan at The Guardian:

Kiarostami’s rise to the status of one of the world’s foremost auteurs started from relatively humble beginnings. He was born in 1940 in Tehran, and originally studied painting at the University of Tehran; Kiarostami began working as a graphic designer and went on to shoot dozens of commercials for Iranian TV. In 1969 he joined Kanun (the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults), where he ran the film department, and was able to make his own films. In 2005 Kiarostami told the Guardian: “We were supposed to make films that dealt with childhood problems. At the beginning it was just a job, but it was the making of me as an artist.”

In the two decades he worked for Kanun, Kiarostami made films continuously, including his first feature, The Report, in 1977. He managed to negotiate the transition triggered by the Khomeini revolution, re-working the films he made to try and accommodate the demands of a new set of censors. Unlike many of his film-industry peers, Kiarostami decided to remain in Iran after the revolution, likening himself to “a tree that is rooted in the ground”. “[If you] transfer it from one place to another, the tree will no longer bear fruit … If I had left my country, I would be the same as the tree.”

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