Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami to present films at IU Cinema

Jan. 9, 2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: Filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's visit to IU Cinema has been postponed until April. Further details are available in an updated news release.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami will visit the Indiana University Bloomington campus in January, where he'll speak at IU Cinema and host a series of his films.

Widely considered one of the most visionary figures in international cinema, Kiarostami uses poetic dialogue and allegorical narratives to create films that challenge viewers' expectations of modern filmmaking and share a deeply humanist philosophy. His films offer an inside, delicate look at Iran that the world, including most Iranians, have never witnessed.

"Hosting Abbas Kiarostami in the IU Cinema is a privilege that we never imagined having. He is one of the most respected filmmakers working in world cinema," IU Cinema director Jon Vickers said. "Filmmakers have been praising his work for decades. Martin Scorsese has claimed that 'Kiarostami represents the highest level of artistry in the cinema,' and French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard has said that 'film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.'"

Kiarostami will speak at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at IU Cinema. The public interview led by Richard Peña, former head of the New York Film Festival, will become a bonus feature on the 2014 Blu-ray Disc release of one of Kiarostami's films. No tickets are necessary for the lecture, which is made possible through the support of the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation.

IU Cinema will also screen nine films that trace the majority of the filmmaker's work in Iran, including his well-know Koker Trilogy, as well as a 2013 documentary by filmmaker Bahman Maghsoudlou. All films are in Farsi with English subtitles:

  • 3 p.m. Jan. 18, "The Traveler" -- A school-age boy lies, cheats and steals to raise enough money for a ticket to see his favorite soccer team play.
  • 7 p.m. Jan. 21, "Abbas Kiarostami: A Report" -- A documentary analysis of Kiarostami's style and vision through the lens of his earliest work, including his first short film.
  • 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23, "The Wind Will Carry Us" -- Behzad arrives in a remote Kurdish village to document the death of an ailing 100-year-old woman, only to find his own life changed.
  • 9:30 p.m. Jan. 23, "Close-Up" -- Follow the real-life trial of a man who impersonated a filmmaker, conning a family into believing they would star in his new film.
  • 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24, "Taste of Cherry" -- Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, this film follows a man seeking someone to bury him after he commits suicide.
  • 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24, "Ten" -- Conversations between a female driver and her passengers create a complex portrait of contemporary Iran.
  • 3 p.m. Jan. 25, "Meeting Leila" -- A chain smoker who uses his habit to jumpstart his creative process receives one condition from his new fiancée: Quit smoking.
  • 7 p.m. Jan. 25, "Where Is the Friend's House" -- The first film in the Koker Trilogy, the story of an 8-year-old boy trying to return a friend's notebook.
  • 3 p.m. Jan. 26, "Life, and Nothing More ..." -- The second film in the Koker Trilogy, this semifictional work follows a film director searching for the stars of his previous film in an earthquake-devastated area.
  • 3 p.m. Feb. 2, "Through the Olive Trees" -- The final film in the Koker Trilogy follows an actor in the trilogy's second film as he attempts to woo his leading lady over her family's objections.

"Kiarostami’s films from the 1990s are what led me to become such a strong advocate for international cinema," Vickers said. "His films intimately introduced me to lives and stories that I had never seen on screen. And, in the words of Kiarostami himself, 'In order to be universal, you have to be rooted in your own culture.'"

Kiarostami is scheduled to be present at the screenings of "The Wind Will Carry Us," "Close-Up," "Taste of Cherry," "Ten" and "Where Is the Friend's House." He and director Adel Yaraghi are also scheduled to be present for "Meeting Leila."

Tickets to all films in the "Abbas Kiarostami in Indiana" series are free and can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; one hour before any screening at the cinema; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order. The visit is being planned in partnership with Syracuse University and is made possible by support from the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation and Jim and Roberta Sherman.