Abbas Kiarostami: A Report screened in Sweden and Italy, November 15, 2014

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Abbas Kiarostami: A Report screened in Sweden and Italy, November 15, 2014

On Saturday, November 8, 2014, two feature documentaries, Abbas Kiarostami: A Report and Ardeshir Mohasses: The Rebellious Artist, were screened at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden. A packed house enjoyed the films and the audience engaged in a question and answer period with the director/producer Bahman Maghsoudlou afterwards.

A week later, on Saturday, November 15, Abbas Kiarostami: A Report was screened at Cinema Trevi (Alberto Sordi Cinema) in Rome. The program opened with Mr. Domenico Monetti, the programmer of Cineteca, introducing both Mr. Maghsoudlou and Donatello Fumarola, a renowned Italian film critic who served as the evening’s moderator. After a short talk about Mr. Maghsoudlou’s background, the filmmaker then spoke about Iranian cinema in general and his films in particular, uniting the two subjects as he explained the thinking behind his decision to make a series of feature documentaries about the history of Iranian cinema before the revolution and why he chose to focus on Kiarostami in the first film. The rain outdoors did not prevent a good crowd from showing up and the almost full auditorium received the film enthusiastically. The theater, Cinema Trevi, is owned and operated by The National Film Archive, a film library founded in 1949 that has the right of compulsory deposit of all films produced or co-produced in Italy since that year. Its archive contains 80,000 films, 600,000 photos and 50,000 posters. The theater was opened in January 2003 for the purpose of public screenings of films from the NFA archive and other film libraries.

PRESS

Abbas Kiarostami: A Report
Writer/Director/Producer: Bahman Maghsoudlou
2013/USA/feature documentary/Color & B&W/87 min./In English & Farsi w/English subtitles

Bahman Maghsoudlou’s film on Kiarostami is one of the best documentaries on a director I’ve ever seen. With well-chosen clips (the extended segment of The Report is alone worth the price of admission) and smart contributions from film scholars, and punctuated by Kiarostami’s own penetrating words, it easily makes the case for the Iranian as one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. That he is not more widely known is only one reason this film deserves to be seen.

Bahman brings to this work a profound understanding of Iran, its political and cultural upheavals, and the tradition of filmmaking within which Kiarostami worked and pioneered. This is a beautiful film that is also a lesson in filmmaking!

—Molly Haskell

*    *    *

 Bahman Maghsoudlou’s movie about Abbas Kiarostami is certainly one of the best if its kind ever realized. Not only because it features cinema historians and critics explaining the particularities and importance of his movies – which is their job, after all – but especially and above all because revisiting his work chronologically allows us to discover the genesis of Kiarostami’s inspiration and the amount of work it takes for a filmmaker to deepen, a necessary process for finding a tone and a style released from any other influences. Learning from each of his movies, Kiarostami then reproduces the world which surrounds him through a personal vision that asserts itself more and more each time, imposing itself on us in an inescapable and obvious way.

Maghsoudlou’s goal was to act not as a critic, but as an exegesis. By allowing Kiarostami to lead us down the path he has already taken, through the outlet of his words and memories, he has given us Abbas Kiarostami, with all his richness and diversity, all over again.

—Pierre-Henri Deleau

 *    *    *

… I believe this is an excellent work… It builds an extensive and sensible understanding of Kiarostami’s work, and its context… I am sure [it] will be shown in many festivals and educational facilities.

Jean-Michel Frodon

*    *    *

Authoritative and incisive, Bahman Maghsoudlou’s Abbas Kiarostami offers a novel, probing and highly illuminating look at the work of one of the modern cinema’s greatest masters.

—Godfrey Cheshire

 *    *    *

 Kiarostami’s most serious admirers will appreciate its insights into the challenges faced on his first feature-length production.

—Hollywood Reporter

  *    *    *

…paints a portrait of a director with great vision, one who dreamed early on of cinematic perfection and understood how to achieve it.

—International Art Film Festival, Tel Aviv

  *    *    *

 

…draws analytical attention to Kiarostami’s humanism and constant quest for peace and reconciliation in a world wounded by perpetual conflict and hate…offers glimpses into the overall development of Iranian cinema as a paradox wrapped in an enigma.

—Amir Taheri, Asharq Al-Awsat

 *    *    *

…It’s a valuable resource for all students and educators, and anyone else who is interested in Kiarostami’s cinema.

—Mehrnaz Saeedvafa, Professor of film at Columbia College, Chicago

  *    *    *

بهمن عزيز،

“اين خيلي دشواره كه آدم درباره فيلمي كه درياره خودشه comment بده،من مدتها از گرفتن و تماشاي اين فيلم طفره ميرفتم ولي بالاخره ديدم و بايد بگم كه اين فيلم يك documentry آموزشي است و به عنوان يك documentry به فيلم اعتبار ويژه اي ميبخشه،كار بهمن مقصود لو به عنوان يك فيلمساز مستند در اين فيلم قابل ستايش است.”

عباس کیارستمی

 *    *    *

 … Bahman Maghsoudlou’s work as a documentary filmmaker in this film is laudable.”

—Abbas Kiarostami

  *    *    *

“***…Recommended.”

—Videolibrarian.com

  *    *    *

“Even though Kiarostami’s The Report strikes me as the least interesting of his narrative features, representing a path not taken in his subsequent work, Bahman Maghsoudlou has made a very interesting documentary about it, drawing on many insightful commentaries about it from Kiarostami himself, many of the people who worked on the film, Godfrey Cheshire, Jean-Michel Frodon, Richard Peña, Andrew Sarris, and several others. It’s a well-crafted “report” in its own right, and a valuable contribution to a neglected subject, the history of Iranian cinema.”

—Jonathan Rosenbaum, film critic

 *    *    *

Maghsoudlou has made one of the smartest docs on a filmmaker I’ve seen in a long time… Oh my gosh, and Kiarostami’s statement on social drama… Great!!!

—Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic

 *    *    *

Bahman Maghsoudlou’s A Report offers a window into the world of Kiarostami’s vision and directing style. It’s particularly informative about his first feature, also called The Report, which is rarely seen and discussed. Along with many great excerpts from Kiarostami’s films, there are interviews with the director and many of his crew members, as well as with film critics and scholars including Andrew Sarris, Godfrey Cheshire, Richard Pena, Jean-Michel Frodon, Farrokh Ghaffary, and Fereidoon Hoveyda, providing us with a better understanding of Kiarostami’s work. It’s a valuable resource for all students and educators, and anyone else who is interested in Kiarostami’s cinema.

—Mehrnaz Saeedvafa, Professor of Film at Columbia College, Chicago

  *    *    *

“A fine and very accessible introduction to the work of a remarkable filmmaker.”

—Geoff Andrew, Film Critic, writer/lecturer/film programmer, BFI Southbank

 *    *    *

Festival

Iranian three grand peaces at Montreal FFM

by Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic – Dex (Montreal )

In addition, even the most famous Iranian filmmaker ever, Abbas Kiarostami, proposes different approaches to film styles, challenging the real meaning of so often seen social dramas. In a great American documentary made by Iranian filmmaker Bahman Maghsoudlou – Abbas Kiarostami – A Report, also screened at the festival – Kiarostami spoke true wisdom, which is that social drama, as a genre, does not make any sense nowadays, because our contemporary society has reached the level where people are already well-prepared for all consequences of every personal act in advance, according to the requirements of the law. In other words, there is no room for choice, and therefore, for any personal dilemma, i.e. conflict – drama. The focus of Maghsoudlou’s Report is Kiarostami’s first feature that was made just before the Islamic revolution in 1979, but, at the same time, this documentary actually sharpens the differences between the two opposite regimes. 

  *    *    *

 Abbas Kiarostami: A Report
(2013) 88 min. DVD: $24.98. Pathfinder Home Entertainment (avail. from most distributors)

Kiarostami-DVDArguably the finest director in the history of Iranian cinema and an acknowledged titan of global cinema, filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created a lasting canon of sublime, often challenging films. Bahman Maghsoudlou’s documentary centers on the early stages of Kiarostami’s career, focusing in particular on the 1977 production of The Report, Kiarostami’s first feature-length work. Made during the years just prior to the rise of Islamic theocracy, The Report examined moral and emotional complications in the tale of a tax collector caught up in bribery while trying to save his dying marriage. The film was something of a challenge for Kiarostami—most notably because it was the first time he worked with synchronized sound, thus requiring a fidelity to the screenplay that was unnecessary in earlier short films. The Report clearly has its supporters; Maghsoudlou brings in such notables as film festival programmer Richard Peña and critics Godfrey Cheshire and the late Andrew Sarris to discuss its importance. Also interviewed here are the film’s stars, Kurosh Afsharpanah and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Of course, it would probably help if viewers were familiar with The Report (which can be found as a special feature on the Criterion Collection’s release of Kiarostami’s 2010 film Certified Copy). Recommended. Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)

—Video Librarian.com

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