a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

If you love Juliette Binoche..

Posted on the May 28th, 2010

Fans of Juliette Binoche — I’m one! — will enjoy this interview with the French actress in today’s Guardian (“Juliette Binoche: the queen of Cannes” by Xan Brooks).


Binoche is in Cannes to discuss her role in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy (Copie Conforme) – a performance that will later win her the award for best actress. She stars as a gallery owner who hooks up with a British art historian (played by William Shimell, an opera singer). Together, these two lost souls drive off through the hills of Tuscany, where they first accept and then furnish the misconception that they are actually a couple, married for 15 years and toiling to keep their relationship afloat. En route, She and He talk about artistic forgeries, and ponder the meaning of originality. What Kiarostami is saying here, I think, is that we are all copycats who play-act our lives, and that doesn’t make us any less real…

And if you haven’t seen the movies of Abbas Kiarostami, you’re missing a great director. Earlier post here.

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Abbas Kiarostami and beauties of Iran

Posted on the April 3rd, 2008

Yesterday, following a link to a link to a link in classic surfing style, I spotted news of an upcoming exhibition in Milan of Abbas Kiarostami’s celebrated “Snow White” series. It’s a collection of b&w photos of trees and snow that the Iranian filmmaker has taken over the years since 1978. The exhibition is at Ciocca Arte Contemporanea museum. The show opens this week on April 5 and will run through May 31.

A couple of years ago, a friend who writes about film invited me to a special screening of Kiarostami’s just-released film Tickets (2005). The event, for young Italian film and acting students, was held on a sound stage at Cinecittà Studios in Rome. Kiarostami was present and, following the screening, took questions from the audience. He had the confidence and world weary attitude of a veteran master filmmaker at the top of his profession, but he truly was kindness itself, I remember, in the patient and close attention he gave to the students and their never-ending queries.

In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle online last year featuring an interview with Kiarostami, reporter Jonathan Curiel wrote this intro of the revered filmmaker:

In a critics’ poll taken a few years ago by Sight & Sound magazine, Abbas Kiarostami was ranked the fourth most important filmmaker of modern times — behind Wong Kar-Wai (No. 3), Krzysztof Kieslowski (No. 2) and Martin Scorsese. Asked about Kiarostami, Scorsese once said, “Kiarostami represents the highest level of artistry in the cinema.” (“Kiarostami/Iranian director’s work from cinema to photos on display in Berkeley retrospective exhibition” by Jonathan Curiel, SFGATE, July 9, 2007)

Kiarostami made the short video above, Romeo, as part of a celebration of the 60th anniversary last year of the Cannes Film Festival. He was among a group of thirty-five international auteurs invited to make a three-minute vignette on the “theme of cinema” for the celebratory occasion.

You can see an interview with Kiarostami in which he talks about the video here (“To Each His Own Cinema Interviews,” At The Movies website).

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