Abbas Kiarostami Dead at Age 76 (1940-July 4, 2016)
Cinephiles all over the world are mourning the loss of arguably the greatest filmmaker of his generation, Abbas Kiarostami. We are particularly touched here at Offscreen because of what he has meant for the journal since its inception in 1997. By then Kiarostami had established himself as Iran’s greatest cinematic export, and was recognized in 1997 by Cannes with its top award, the Palme d’or for A Taste of Cherry. My own introduction to Iranian cinema came a few years before this when a few Iranian film students introduced me to the riches of their National cinema. Kiarostami along with Makhmalbaf were two of the first filmmakers they told me to watch. As such Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf became my guides into a whole new cinema culture which has continued to enlighten and entertain me for over 20 years now. Kiarostami’s death, though not unexpected —a current Iranian student told me a few months ago that he was very sick— is still a shock, and more importantly, sad because of the realization that there will be no more new Kiarostami films. Things do not get much sadder than that for a cinephile.