Born in Tehran, Iran, Abbas Kiarostami was a person of many talents. He started as a painter, then went on to become a poet, filmmaker, and a photographer. For Kiarostami, the process of filmmaking started when one drew inspiration from all what happens in his/her surroundings and life experiences. Abbas Kiarostami has some incredible Persian films to his credit such as The Runner, The Little Stranger among others.
In this interview, Kiarostami reflects on creating films from one’s own experiences, his favourite filmmakers, and why a filmmaker must never look for inspiration in other films and literature. He emphasizes blending real-life encounters to “use them and turn them into films.”
Kiarostami’s journey started at the Centre for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he was the first person to start a film section. Over the years, several of Kiarostami’s masterpieces were created in this section.
Some of his stellar films are Close-up and Taste of Cherry that received Palme d’Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival. When asked about his inspiration for filmmaking, Kiarostami says that his life has been his sole inspiration and he keeps his senses focussed to notice the nuances of life which can then be turned into an art form. He further elaborates that the process of creation in itself is such a wonderful experience that it has kept him motivated over the years to pursue the art.
Kiarostami’s euphoric spirit for life is clearly evident in this interview. When asked about what he would like to be remembered for, he doesn’t mince his words and says, “My pleasure is in my own existence and not in the work that remains of me. I prefer that I would remain and my work would not.”
Having started his journey as a painter who used to paint film posters to win awards at International film festivals, Kiarostami had surely traversed a long way with his love for cinema.