films seen
average score
Iran - 76 years old
R.I.P. (1940 - 2016)
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The man who put Iranian cinema on the map. Kiarostami likes to blend fiction with documentary-style filmmaking, creating a very natural, yet slow and arthouse-like mood. Not my thing, but an important man in cinema.


Taste of Cherry

Ta'm E Guilass
1997 / 95m - Iran
Taste of Cherry poster

Kiarostami Palme d'Or winner. I'm not a big fan of Kiarostami's work, Taste of Cherry is one of the more intriguing projects I've seen from him so far. It's a very calm and deliberate film that gets a little too talkative at times and doesn't quite nail its ending, but I did enjoy the overall calming experience.

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An Iranian man is driving around in his car, looking for someone who can help him out. He is struggling with life and ponders about killing himself, but he needs someone to bury him if he decides to go through with it. Nobody seems very keen on helping, until he runs into a taxidermist who can use the money to save his own kid.

It's a very interesting premise and the settings lends the film a very pensive, calming atmosphere. Kiarostami doesn't rush things, but the discussions the lead has with the passersby are quite bland, and the ending wasn't quite as thought-provoking as it was obviously intended to be. Fewer dialogues, more tracking shots is what would've made this a better film, but alas.

Like Someone in Love

2012 / 109m - Japan
Like Someone in Love poster

Through the Olive Trees

Zire Darakhatan Zeyton
1994 / 103m - Iran
Through the Olive Trees poster

Ten films in, I'm starting to get a solid grip on Kiarostami's work. He has a way of blending fiction and reality, while also doubling down on previous work in his career. It sounds interesting on paper, but the resulting films are often quite dull and lifeless, even though his supporters seem to proclaim the exact opposite.

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Keshavarz is a director working on Zendegi Edame Darad (Kiarostami's previous film). He's mixing inexperienced actors with a few seasoned artists, but once he starts shooting things don't go quite as planned. There's a relationship blossoming between the leads of his film, and it's impacting the production.

The performances are okay, but not too great. The cinematography is plain, the settings are rather grim (apart from the finale), and the conversations are meandering. There's a certain rhythm that keeps the films going, but it never truly engaged or gripped me. Kiarostami's films are not really for me.

And Life Goes On

Zendegi va Digar Hich
1992 / 95m - Iran
And Life Goes On poster

Kiarostami packages fiction in documentary form. I'll be honest and admit I don't really get the idea or appeal of these films, but I'm not surprised there's an audience for them (and I do like Jia's 24 City, which is more or less the same concept). And Life Goes On did very little for me though.

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After an earthquake hits Guilan, the region is suffering. A director who shot a film there a couple of years ago goes on a little field trip with his son, to visit the actors that came from the area. When they meet with the people there they learn that life doesn't just revolve around material possessions.

The actors do a decent job and the film does feel like watching a real documentary, but that's not really positive in my book. The cinematography is bland, the score is lacking and the topic didn't interest me in the slightest. Kiarostami just isn't for me it seems, but I can respect what he accomplished here.


Nema-ye Nazdik
1990 / 98m - Iran
Documentary, Crime
Close-Up poster

Poorly shot documentary about a guy who got caught impersonating a famous Iranian film director. The story itself is pretty interesting and definitely worth documenting, but the overly long courtroom scenes and the re-enacted inserts don't really make it all that compelling. Not worthy of all its critical praise.

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

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The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.


2002 / 94m - Iran
Ten poster

Kiarostami will test your patience, so this will be a pretty big hit-or-miss film for most. The documentary-like approach isn't new for him, but this is by far the most static, ugliest-looking film he's ever made. It all depends on whether you consider the characters interesting enough. For me that was a definite 'no'.

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The film offers 10 scenes in a car. A mother is driving around with various people, Kiarostami documents their conversations. There are only two camera angles. One is looking at the driver, the other at the passenger. The underlying narrative outlines the position of women in a society dominated by men.

One thing that generally bugs me about Middle-Eastern films is the noisiness of the characters. The first scene has two people shouting for 10 minutes, where half the conversation is one person asking the other not to shout. The rest of the fragments didn't really do it for me either. The concept is interesting, the execution terrible.

Where Is the Friend's House?

Khane-ye Doust Kodjast?
1987 / 83m - Iran
Where Is the Friend's House? poster

My least favorite Kiarostami so far. I generally don't care much about films with very young kids, so I didn't really appreciate the charm this film was obviously gunning for. There isn't really all that much beyond that either, though the film is pretty short it's also quite slow and uneventful.

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Ahmed is 8. When he comes home from school, he noticed that he took a classmate's notebook with him. Ahmed feels bad about the situation, but the boy lives in a neighboring village, too far to go by himself. That doesn't stop him from undertaking a journey to get the notebook to his rightful owner.

I didn't care much for the boy's performance, the people he meets on the road aren't very interesting either and Kiarostami's styling has never been something I've cared for. The film is noisy, characters are pretty irritating and the Ahmed's journey is too uneventful. Not my kind of film.