Art And Culture

Tributes Pour in for Outstanding Filmmaker

Tributes Pour in for Outstanding FilmmakerTributes Pour in for Outstanding Filmmaker

Authorities, cultural officials, artists and world statesmen along with the media have offered condolences on the death of world-renowned Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami who passed away in Paris on Monday (July 4).

He had gone to France barely a week earlier for advanced medical treatment.

Kiarostami who was hospitalized in Tehran in March due to a gastrointestinal ailment underwent several surgeries, and was released after two months to recuperate. However, as he did not fully regain his health he decided to continue his treatment in France and left on June 30 for Paris.

But he reportedly suffered from a sudden brain stroke and passed away at the age of 76 just two weeks after his birthday.

In separate messages, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid tribute. In a tweet posted on his official Twitter account, Rouhani hailed the different and deep vision of Kiarostami towards life, saying, “His way of inviting people to peace and friendship was a perpetual achievement in the film industry”.

Zarif also paid homage to the late director on his Twitter, expressing deep regret over the loss of “a towering figure in international cinema” and wrote, “May the Almighty receive him in His Infinite Mercy. Rest in peace Ostad,”

The Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a message offered his condolences to Iran’s artistic community, Kiarostami’s colleagues, friends and especially his family.  “I was saddened by the departure of the renowned and popular artist of our country late Abbas Kiarostami. He conveyed the message of peace and friendship of the Iranian people to the entire world,” the former president said in his message.

Iranian Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi said, “It is not just the world of cinema that has lost a great man; the whole world has lost someone really great”.

Members of parliament, including Mohammad Reza Aref, Health Minister Seyed Hassan Hashemi, Secretary of Fajr Film Festival Mohammad Heydari, managing director of Documentary and Experimental Film Center Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Tabatabaeinejad, head of National Library and Archives Organization of Iran Seyed Reza Salehi Amiri, Managing Director of the Institute for the Intellectual Development of the Children and Young Adults, Alireza Hajianzadeh, Head of Farabi Cinema Foundation Alireza Tabesh and many other officials expressed condolences on Kiarostami’s demise.

 World Saddened

French President Francois Hollande was among those who paid tribute hailing Kiarostami as the filmmaker who has “profoundly marked the history of cinema.”

Prominent American filmmaker Martin Scorsese issued a statement describing him as “one of those rare artists with a special knowledge of the world. He was a very special human being: quiet, elegant, modest, articulate and quite observant. He was a true gentleman and, truly, one of our great artists”.

“The world may have lost its greatest filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami”, the New York cinema magazine The Film Stage tweeted.

The Varierty, Hollywood Reporter, Guardian and Indiewire also shared the news.

Major world artists had praised Kiarostami’s genius, including famous French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard who once said, “Film begins with D.W. Griffith (1875–1948, known as the Inventor of Hollywood) and ends with Abbas Kiarostami”.

The late celebrated Japanese director Akira Kurosawa also once said, “When Satyajit Ray (prominent Indian movie maker) passed away, I was very depressed. But after seeing Kiarostami’s films, I thanked God for giving us just the right person to take his place”.

 Local Ceremonies

On Tuesday at 10 pm, screening of movies in Iranian cinema halls was stopped as a symbolic gesture to pay tribute to the late Kiarostami.

Cineastes and fans gathered at Cinema Museum, Mellat Cineplex and House of Cinema on three consecutive nights to pay homage to Kiarostami and sign a memorial notebook.

Kiarostami’s body was brought to Iran on Friday and his funeral will be held on Sunday morning, starting from the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA), located on Hijab Street in central Tehran. The decision to do so has been made by his family as Kiarostami started his career as a filmmaker from the institute in the 1960s.

Based on his own will, Kiarostami’s body will be buried in Lavasan, in the northeast suburb of Tehran.

A highly acclaimed figure in world cinema, Kiarostami was also an artist in the fields of photography, music, graphic, painting, design and a poet.

Born in 1940 in Tehran, he studied painting at the University of Tehran and started working as a graphic designer. His first movie ‘Where Is the Friend’s Home?’ (1987) was awarded the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. ‘Close-Up’ (1990), one of his films, was ranked 42nd in British Film Institute’s The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time. It was also praised by directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog and Jean-Luc Godard.

He was the only Iranian filmmaker who won the Palme D’Or, the top prize at Cannes, with his 1997 film ‘Taste of Cherry’, a film to appreciate life in a delicate way based on Iranian values.

On June 29, just a few days before he died, he was among 683 film-makers asked to join the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.