Art and Experience: A huge crowd said goodbye to one of the world’s greatest filmmakers, Abbas Kiarsotami, in his hometown Tehran during a funeral procession that began at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) on Sunday morning.

Cineastes, officials, friends, relatives and fans were among those who attended the funeral of their beloved auteur, who passed away in Paris last week on Monday at the age of 76.

Hossein Fereydoun, brother and close aide to President Hassan Rouhani, MP Mohammadreza Aref and Cinema Organization of Iran (COI) Director Hojjatollah Ayyubi were also among the participating officials.

The ceremony was hosted by actor Parviz Parastui, who expressed his appreciation to the crowds for their active participation.

Addressing Kiarstoami in his final words, Parastui said, “We are here to say that your students understand the precious gem of your works and will promise to preserve this great value.

“You have also left us two other weighty things (two sons Ahmad and Bahman). They will continue part of your dear being; they have tried all these years to support your good name. Here, they once again promise to protect your works and remain heirs to your name and your works, and we must praise you once again for this heritage,” he continued.

Filmmaker Masud Kimiai was called on stage next to deliver his speech, despite his anguish over the demise of his close friend.

“I am not feeling fine; I also don’t have adequate words to speak. I just keep crying. I am sure that the light of God shines more brightly on an oppressed artist. Abbas has so much persistence that his name will also remain eternal as long as history remains,” said Kimiai in his brief words.

Dariush Shayegan, one of Iran’s best-known intellectuals, called Kiarostami the original child of this land.

“Abbas did not need to store knowledge to learn something; he was seeking the essence of truth. All the characters in his films were on a journey to learn. His great impact on the world was his great sense of poetry.

“Another of his good characteristics was that he was modest. He bore the weighty burden of fame but never fell into its trap,” he concluded.

His son Ahmad paid his respects to all the individuals participating in the ceremony especially to the organizers of the funeral and his brother Bahman who was with his father during the last days of his treatment.

Kiarostami’s body was later laid to rest in a private burial service in Lavasan, a resort town about 40 kilometers northeast of Tehran, according to his own will.

Cineastes Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Asghar Farhadi, Seifollah Samadian, Dariush Farhang, Niki Karimi, Reza Kianian, Atila Pesyani and Narges Abyar were seen among the crowd.