CERTIFIED COPY (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)

Owing more to Borges’s labyrinthine fiction and Antonioni’s film The Passenger (1975) than to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), writer-director Abbas Kiarostami’s Copie conforme is also unlike anything else I’ve encountered. A formally slippery, hilariously funny semi-abstract quasi-romance, it centers on a tourist who draws a reluctant stranger into her spontaneous […]

SHIRIN (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008)

Powerful, mesmerizing, intermittently electrifying, Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin shows us, another audience, an audience watching another film, one that we only hear—like a radio drama, with dialogue, human and animal sounds, sound effects, music—from start to finish. We see more than a hundred audience members reacting to it—reactions that projectively become our own.      We watch […]

20 FINGERS (Mania Akbari, 2004)

Dedicated to Abbas Kiarostami, in whose Ten Mania Akbari starred two years earlier, Akbari’s 20 Fingers also tries weighing freedom for Iranian women as it scrapes against the implacable rock of male prerogatives and presumption. Here, also, the form is episodic; different couples, perhaps one couple, played by Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand—together, they produced the […]

WHERE IS MY FRIEND’S HOME? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)

Launching Abbas Kiarostami’s great trilogy in rural, rocky northern Iran (Life and Nothing More and Through the Olive Trees follow), Khane-ye doust kodjast? follows eight-year-old Ahmed as he sneaks away from home after school to pursue a moral cause: the return of a classmate’s notebook he accidentally took. This other boy, Mohammad Reza Nematzedah, lives […]