Multi-award-winning Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, known prominently for his 1997 film ‘Taste of Cherry’, which also won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival, died at the age of 76 on Monday.
A news report in The Guardian said – “Abbas Kiarostami who had traveled to France for treatment, has died,” reported the semi-official Isna news agency on Monday. Iran’s house of cinema confirmed the report, Isna said. Kiarostami had been diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer in March 2016, and had undergone a series of operations, including in Paris last month.
Speaking to the Guardian from Tehran, Oscar-winning Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi – who had been due to fly to Paris to visit his friend later tonight – said he was “very sad, in total shock. He wasn’t just a film-maker, he was a modern mythic, both in his cinema and his private life. Kiarostami’s international success enabled many generations of Iranian film-makers. He definitely paved ways for others and influenced a great deal of people. It’s not just the world of cinema that has lost a great man; the whole world has lost someone really great.”
The Guardian further states that Kiarostami’s rise to the status of one of the world’s foremost auteurs started from relatively humble beginnings. He was born in 1940 in Tehran, and originally studied painting at the University of Tehran; Kiarostami began working as a graphic designer and went on to shoot dozens of commercials for Iranian TV. In 1969 he joined Kanun (the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults), where he ran the film department, and was able to make his own films. In 2005 Kiarostami told the Guardian: “We were supposed to make films that dealt with childhood problems. At the beginning it was just a job, but it was the making of me as an artist.”
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