Reaching beyond the frame - the poetic cinema of Abbas Kiarostami
Stories & Ideas

Thu 14 Apr 2022

Reaching beyond the frame: the poetic cinema of Abbas Kiarostami

Film Melbourne Cinémathèque Retrospective
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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society

Notes for the 8–22 June 2022 Melbourne Cinémathèque program.

When essayist and critic Phillip Lopate claimed that “we are living in the Age of Kiarostami, as once we did in the Age of Godard”, he highlighted both the crucial emergence onto the world stage of Iranian cinema and the specific qualities of Kiarostami’s contemplative, gently questioning, porously self-reflexive and overwhelmingly poetic work.

Abbas Kiarostami (1940–2016) began making films at the start of the 1970s for the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran after working in graphic design, book illustration and TV commercials. From his very first short films and features such as The Experience and The Traveller he developed a highly identifiable style and set of philosophical and materialist concerns focusing on the relationship between art and everyday life, the importance of education and pedagogy to the foundations of culture and society, the invisible barrier between documentary and fiction, and the world beyond the frame.

Working consistently throughout the 1970s and 1980s on either side of the Islamic Revolution, his films came to international prominence with the unfolding release of the quietly phenomenal 'Koker trilogy' – Where is the Friend’s House?, And Life Goes On, Through the Olive Trees – an extraordinary run of movies focusing on a small rural community recovering from the effects of a devastating earthquake, each internalising the fictional and documentary worlds of its predecessor.

This specially imported season focuses on the films Kiarostami made prior to his Palme d’Or winning opus, Taste of Cherry, profiling a range of rarely seen but extraordinary early to mid-career features and documentaries that have only recently been restored, and providing further evidence of the director’s vaunted reputation as one of the key figures of post-World War II cinema.


Reaching beyond the frame: the poetic cinema of Abbas Kiarostami

Where is the Friend's House? (1987) – Wed 8 Jun, 7pm
Homework (1989) – Wed 8 Jun, 8.40pm
A Wedding Suit (1976) – Web 8 Jun, 10.05pm
Through the Olive Trees (1994) – Wed 15 Jun, 7pm
The Experience (1973) – Wed 15 Jun, 8.55pm
Fellow Citizen (1983) – Wed 15 Jun, 10.05pm
First Graders (1985) – Wed 22 Jun, 7pm
First Case, Second Case (1979) – Wed 22 Jun, 8.35pm
The Traveller (1974) – Wed 22 Jun, 9.40pm

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Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

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