Docunight presents touching portrait of cinema giant Kiarostami
Art and Experience: Just one day after the one-year anniversary of the death of world-renowned filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, “76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami” will be featured for Docunight: Iran via Documentaries. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on the University Park campus. Co-sponsored by the Iranian Student Association and Penn State University Libraries, Docunight events are scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month and are free and open to the public.
Acclaimed photographer Seifollah Semadian, long-time collaborator with Kiarostami, turned years of behind-the-scenes footage shot during their close creative partnership into a beautiful, understated and inspiring tribute to this giant of cinema by simply allowing the audience to watch Kiarostami at work. Kiarostami was a visionary, known for his films “Koker Trilogy” (1987), “Close-up” (1990), “Taste of Cherry” (1997), which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and “The Wind Will Carry Us” (1999), a Silver Lion winner at the Venice Film Festival, among many others.
The July selection for Docunight: Iran via Documentaries, “76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami” was first released at the Venice Film Festival in August 2016 with screenings at the Tokyo International Film Festival and Dubai International Film Festival late last fall. First released in the United States in April 2017, the film pays special tribute to Kiarostami, who was 76 years and 15 days old when he passed away on July 4, 2016.
Deborah Young’s review from “The Hollywood Reporter” notes “the film reflects Kiarostami’s own simplicity and glancing, instinctive modernism — one more example of his influence on Iranian filmmaking.” Without interviews or narration, director Semedian brings the audience into sequences of Kiarostami in the passion of his work, both behind and in front of the lens.
The Docunight series is an initiative to encourage cultural exchange and understanding of Iran through documentaries. The films are about, around or in Iran, or made by Iranians, and the American showings are part of a collaboration with the National Iranian American Council.