Monday, July 30, 2007

Kiarostami at the PFA

Saturday evening I saw 2 films at the Pacific Film Archive by the highly-regarded Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about him, other than that he was the teacher of Bahman Ghobadi, who may be the best director working today.

First was the 1987 film Where Is the Friend's Home? A school boy sets out to accomplish the seemingly simple task of returning his friend's notebook & encounters a completely unhelpful, though never malicious, adult world. The story is straight-forward enough for a child to follow, but the movie itself is carefully constructed, poetic & incredibly respectful of the emotional lives of children. This is one of those films where every shot looks like a carefully composed photograph & every scene has a point to make.

Kiarostami has a wonderful way to end the movie. Once the main crisis has passed, the movie simply stops. There is nothing else that we need to see. Where is the Friend's Home? is the 1st part of trilogy which is concluded next weekend.

My party stayed to see the 1990 documentary Homework. This film turned out to be more for Kiarostami specialists. It is interviews with school boys about doing homework. It's evidently a social critique of the educational system in Iran. I did learn some shocking statistics about the illiteracy rate of the parents. However, I felt like I didn't have enough background about the school reforms in Iran to understand the importance of the issues raised.

1 comment:

Jeana said...

Abbas Kiarostami died this year. 1940-2016