Born on June 22nd 1940 in Tehran, Kiarostami was interested in the arts from an early age. He won a painting competition at the age of eighteen, and left home to study at Tehran University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. As a designer and illustrator, Kiarostami worked throughout the ’60s in advertising, making commercials, designing posters, creating credit titles for films, and illustrating children’s books. In 1969–the year that saw the birth of the Iranian New Wave with Dariush Mehrjui’s seminal film The Cow–Kiarostami helped to set up a filmmaking department at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. The department’s debut production was Kiarostami’s own first film, the ten-minute Bread and Alley, a charming, neo-realist gem about a small boy’s perilous walk home from school. The department Read More.. would go on to become one of Iran’s most famous film studios, producing not only Kiarostami’s films, but also such modern Iranian classics as The Runner and Bashu, the Little Stranger. Though Kiarostami’s films have been compared at various times to those of Satyajit Ray, Vittorio de Sica, Eric Rohmer, or Jacques Tati, they remain uniquely Kiarostamian. Effortlessly simple and conceptually complex in equal measure; poetic, lyrical, meditative, self-reflexive and increasingly sophisticated, they mix fiction and documentary in unique ways, often presenting fact as fiction and fiction as fact. (Kiarostami has said « We can never get close to the truth except through lying. ») In the 40 years since Bread and Alley, Kiarostami has made more than 30 films, including fiction features, educational shorts, feature-length documentaries, and a series of films for television. He has also written screenplays for other directors, most notably The White Balloon, for his former assistant Jafar Panahi.
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