[Marxism] Is Abbas Kiarostami the World’s Most Talented Film-maker? » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 30 12:54:42 MDT 2014

Three Independent Films: "The Wind Will Carry Us," "Age of Uprising," 
and "Night Moves"

Is Abbas Kiarostami the World’s Most Talented Film-maker?

Jonathan Rosenbaum named “The Wind Will Carry Us” as one of the ten 
greatest movies of the past 50 years while Martin Scorsese identified 
its director Abbas Kiarostami as representing “the highest level of 
artistry in the cinema.” Those accolades should be sufficient to 
motivate New Yorkers to see a revival of the 1999 masterpiece opening 
today at the IFC Center. If not, let me add my two cents.

Even if the audio died as the film began, you would be mesmerized by the 
steady procession of images on the screen before you. When he was 18, 
Kiarostami won a painting competition that helped him be admitted to 
Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. After graduating, he made a 
living as a commercial artist. It is only when he began making films 
that his early passion for the fine arts began to be satisfied. On 
strictly a visual basis, sitting through the 118 minutes as the film 
unwinds is equivalent to seeing a photography exhibit at the MOMA by one 
of the great masters.

Since I anticipate no problems with the audio at IFC, I can promise you 
that the dialog will match the visual elements. Kiarostami’s film can 
best be described as magical realism but without the magic. The sense of 
wonderment does not come from characters and objects defying the natural 
order but from their own unique relationship to the natural order so at 
odds from the film’s major character, a sophisticated documentary 
filmmaker from Tehran who has come to a tiny mountainside village 
populated by Kurds. They live as they have lived for hundreds of years, 
tending their herds of cattle and goats, while he is tuned into the 
latest technologies including a cell phone. The running gag of this 
bone-dry comedy is his need to get into his Land Rover to scale a nearby 
hilltop to receive an in-coming call whenever his cell phone rings. By 
contrast, communications in the village are strictly from one windowsill 
to the next.


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