Date of Birth
22 June 1940, Teheran, Iran
Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career as a filmmaker at the age of 30. Since then he has made many movies and has become one of the most important figures in contemporary Iranian film. He is also a major figure in the arts world, and has had numerous gallery exhibitions of his photography, short films and poetry. He is an iconic figure for what he has done, and he has achieved it all by believing in the arts and the creativity of his mind.
IMDb Mini Biography By: Francesco Bori
SpouseParvin Amir-Gholi (1969 - 1982) (divorced) 2 children
Scenes that take place in or around a car
Received the UNESCO Fellini-Medal in Gold for his achievements in film, freedom, peace, and tolerance. 
Professor at La Femis (Paris)
Knows artist Behzad Yahaghi.
His film Where is the Friend's Home? (1987) was shown at the Channel 4 (UK) premiere for the Iranian film season.
Retrospective at the 28th São Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil 
Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993
Was the president of the Camera d'or Jury in Cannes Film Festival 2005.
Lives in Tehran.
Son Ahmad was born in 1971, son Bahman was born in 1978.
Jean-Luc Godard has said, "Film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." According to Martin Scorsese, "Kiarostami represents the highest level of artistry in the cinema." When these words are quoted in front of Kiarostami, he winces most charmingly. "This admiration is perhaps more appropriate after I am dead," he says.
Upon accepting a prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Taste of Cherry (1997), he received a hug and kiss from presenter Catherine Deneuve. Since public physical contacts between members of the opposite sexes, who are unrelated to one another, are banned by the Islamic government in Iran, Kiarostami's home country, he didn't return to his Tehran home for a week.
Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1995.
Recipient of the Lifetime Achievment Award at the 2005 Yerevan International Film Festival, which later became the Sergei Parajanov Award and was presented to Mohsen Makhmalbaf in 2006.
He was one of the guests of honor at the Midnightsun Filmfestival in Sodankylä in 2007.
He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
Head of Jury of Montréal World Film Festival in 2000.
On 9 March 2010 published an open letter in a Tehran newspaper, calling for the release of two directors, detained by the authorities on 1 March 2010. "Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof are two filmmakers of the Iranian independent cinema, a cinema that for the past quarter of a century has served as an essential cultural element in expanding the name of this country across the globe. They belong to an expanded world culture, and are a part of international cinematic culture." Rasoulof was released from ward 209 of the Evin prison on 17 March 2010.
Interviewed in "World Directors in Dialogue" by Bert Cardullo (Scarecrow Press, 2011).
In this type of cinema, whether working with actors or non-actors, as much as you do direct them, if you allow yourself to be directed by them, then the end result will be much more pleasing. The real and individual strengths of the actors is allowed to be expressed and is something that does affect the audience very deeply.
My films have been progressing towards a certain kind of minimalism, even though it was never intended. Elements which can be eliminated have been eliminated. This was pointed out to me by somebody who referred to the paintings of Rembrandt and his use of light: some elements are highlighted while others are obscured or even pushed back into the dark. And it's something that we do - we bring out elements that we want to emphasize. I'm not claiming or denying that I have done such a thing but I do believe in [Robert] Bresson's method of creation through omission, not through addition.
I don't have very complete scripts for my films. I have a general outline and a character in my mind, and I make no notes until I find the character who's in my mind in reality. When I find the character, I try to spend time with them and get to know them very well. Therefore my notes are not from the character that I had in my mind before, but are instead based on the people I've met in real life. It's a long process, it may take six months. I only make notes, I don't write dialogs in full. And the notes are very much based on my knowledge of that person. Therefore when we start shooting I don't have rehearsals with them at all. So, rather than pulling them towards myself, I travel closer to them; it's very much closer to the real person than anything I try to create. So I give them something but I also take from them.
Good cinema is what we can believe and bad cinema is what we can't believe. What you see and believe in is very much what I'm interested in. And it's not so much a question of whether we've shot it through 35mm or digital video; what is important is whether the audience accepts it as real. It's very true that non-actors feel more comfortable in front of a digital camera, without the lights and the large crowd around them, and we arrive at much more intimate moments with them.
If we're not going to take full advantage of digital, then 35mm is a better medium. Especially for shooting dramas - I have no problem with 35mm. It seems that film-makers are being divided between those working in digital and those who are not. I think it's not something predetermined - it all depends on what project we have in mind, and on that basis we choose the medium.
My car's my best friend. My office. My home. My location. I have a very intimate sense when I am in a car with someone next to me. We're in the most comfortable seats because we're not facing each other, but sitting side by side. We don't look at each other, but instead do so only when we want to. We're allowed to look around without appearing rude. We have a big screen in front of us and side views. Silence doesn't seem heavy or difficult. Nobody serves anybody. And many other aspects. One most important thing is that it transports us from one place to another.
Children are very strong and independent characters and can come up with more interesting things than Marlon Brando, and it's sometimes very difficult to direct or order them to do something. When I met Akira Kurosawa in Japan, one question he asked me was, 'How did you actually make the children act the way they do? I do have children in my films but I find that I reduce and reduce their presence until I have to get rid of them because there's no way that I can direct them.' My own thought is that one is very grand, like an emperor on a horse, and it's very hard for a child to relate to that. In order to be able to cooperate with a child, you have to come down to below their level in order to communicate with them. Actors are also like children.
The Iranian government as a whole has no relationship with my films. They're not particularly interested, perhaps this kind of cinema is not very interesting to them. And I'm not sure that my films show the reality of life in Iran; we show different aspects of life. Iran is a very extensive and expansive place, and sometimes, even for us who live there, some of the realities are very hard to comprehend. But on the whole, the government grapples with more important issues and we can maybe say that these films don't really exist for them. It's not about whether they like it or don't; it's just not very important to them.
I am in Armenia for a few days, but already I feel the rhythm of Armenia's life, which resembles the inner rhythm of Sergei Parajanov's films. [Upon receiving the Lifetime Achievment Award at 2005 Yerevan International Film Festival]
[on the exact status of the relationship on Copie Conforme] No, I still don't know. Truth is a possibility - what the reality is doesn't really matter so much. What matters here is that they are possibly a couple. The man does say, "We make a good couple, don't we?" And as long as the café proprietor regards them as a couple, then in a sense their being a couple is true, regardless of whether they are in reality.
I am not sure how much of this comes from aesthetics, and how much from concept. But of course a single tree is more of a tree than a number of them. You've heard the story of the child who asked his father to show him the forest. The father obliged. When they got there, the father asked the child if he could see the forest. Surprised, the child said, "Yes, but there are so many trees that I can hardly see the forest." When you have a lot of trees lined up next to each other, you don't see trees anymore. You see something else that carries a different concept. I think you can similarly argue that when people are together, they lose their individual values and turn into a mass, bound together by their collective interests. As soon as they focus on their collective interests, they lose their meaning as human beings. Of course, it would be wonderful as a social movement, but it wouldn't have any individuality. People may think something different inside, but they give in to their collective interests, which in turn destroy their individuality.
Maybe more than a teller, I am a story listener. I really enjoy listening to stories. I remember them and keep them in my mind. All of my films are a collection of small stories that have been told to me. And maybe you would be interested in knowing how I choose my students in the school in Iran where I teach filmmaking? I don't ask them to have studied film or any education in general. What I ask them is to come and sit and tell me a story, and the way they choose it and tell it, for me, the best criteria for whether they are right for making films. There's nothing more important than being able to tell your story orally.