Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Abbas Kiarostami (1940 - 2016)

I seem to recall that Nicole Brenez once made a case that the '90s was one of the three greatest decades for cinema. This statement would have been made around the '90s, the decade of most of my teen years and early twenties. The decade I was learning about cinema and life in tandem, years that will never be repeated. The formative years of seeing what cinema is capable of and becoming sensitive to new lessons, new experiences. Abel Ferrara, Wong-Kar Wai, Hou Hsiao-Hsien (the opening shot of Millenium Mambo on endless loop), Pola X, Histoire(s) du cinéma, Lost Highway, The Double Life of Veronique, Pialat's Van Gogh, Whispering Pages, Scorsese's best decade, Sarunas Bartas... And, central and essential to it all, the towering work of Abbas Kiarostami. The sense of growing along with each new work of his that emerged. One of the brightest guiding lights.

The years pass in a twinkling and I find Like Someone In Love (2012) to be one of the most disconcerting and mysterious films of recent years. One that really got under my skin to an unusual extent. With time, this master gets more unpredictable, more unsettling. Part of the emotion I felt after watching it was an urgent curiosity about what might come next in Kiarostami's ouevre. But now he has followed in the grimly steady procession of great filmmakers to have left the planet in 2016. Perhaps there is some consolation to be gained from the fact that he left at the height of his powers, in the wake of a masterpiece.

Rest in peace.   


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