Remembering Iranian Director Abbas Kiarostami (1940 - 2016)

It is with deep regret and sorrow that we learned about the passing of Mr. Abbas Kiarostami, the highly acclaimed Iranian, director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer.


Mr. Kiarostami's artistic and creative legacy has earned him the title as one of the world's most influential filmmakers. His talents came to life on screen with cinematic tales of ordinary people dealing with rather relatable problems. They were often told in his signature vision that conflated poetry and philosophy.

His career began in the 1960s, where Kiarostami's initial rise is correlated with the Iranian New Wave. In 1969, he was in part responsible for the creation of the filmmaking department at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran, which would become one of Iran's most notable film studios.

AbbasKiarostami1977Receiving the Palm d'Or (1997)

With over forty film credits to his name, Kiarostami regularly employed documentary-style filming, even using nonprofessional actors, which he enticed performances that were critically acclaimed. His valuable contributions to art and cinema were consistently praised by the likes of directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese, and Michael Haneke just to name a few.

Some of Kiarostami's most notable work includes "The Bread and Alley" (1970), "Report" (1977), "Where Is The Friend's House?" (1987), "Close-up" (1990), "And Life Goes On" (1992), and "Through The Olive Trees" (1994), to name a few. In 1997, he won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film "Taste of Cherry," which portrayed a wealthy man who wishes to commit suicide and engages characters to assist in his burial. "Certified Copy" (2010), and "Like Someone in Love" (2012), were his first films to be shot outside of Iran.

Born on June 22, 1940, in Tehran, Kiarostami developed his artistic talents in his youth as a painter. Shortly after winning a painting competition at the age of 18, he went on to study graphic design and painting at the University of Tehran School of Fine Arts. He continued his creative pursuits professionally by working in advertisement, designing posters and making commercials, before finding his eventual success in filmmaking.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire Farhang Foundation family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers around the world. His passionate and uniquely poetic work will continue to influence and inspire us in our hearts and minds for generations to come.

Mark Amin
Vice Chair
Farhang Foundation