ON NOT DROPPING IN FOR TEA…

Curator's Note

In Seifollah Samadian’s ‘76 MINUTES AND 15 SECONDS WITH ABBAS KIAROSTAMI (2016) Abbas Kiarostami is seen speaking to film students, advising them to keep shortening their scripts, by removing everything that can go without affecting the essence of the plot. Starting from a 600-word long text for an article, he kept revising, until at the end he was left with a 150 words – and nothing of the plot’s core was affected. If I have to apply this principle to the last film that brings us close to the great Kiarostami, I would leave in the scene where he, whilst traveling around in hs jeep, comes to seek out Tahereh Ladanian, the young woman who played in his THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (1994). He does not want to come out of the car, just chats with her through the window, an keeps rejecting her insistence to come in, promising repeatedly to drop in for tea next time. This scene made me cry. There was not to be next time. This scene, perhaps, would not be seen as the film’s essence at the time of the film’s making – there are so many other important scenes, showing Kiarostami’s goings about, his approach to photography, beauty, and life. But life, the great meaning-maker, changes meanings. So, what is left of the essence of the plot are these fleeting encounters with the director.

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