Critic’s Choice: Master Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami gets a ‘Close-Up’


The films of the Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami, who died in 2016 at the age of 76, are among the cinema’s most lucid and beguiling mysteries — visually and formally spare on the surface, brimming with sly puzzles and philosophical implications just beneath. A mini-retrospective of the director’s work, presented this weekend by the American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre, offers a vital opportunity to embrace the inimitable challenges and deep pleasures of his art.

Perhaps you might follow his protagonists on the deceptively minimalist road journeys of “Taste of Cherry,” “Ten” and “The Wind Will Carry Us.” Or you could submit to the paradoxes of “Close-Up,” an astonishing weave of documentary reconstruction and artifice, or vanish into the ever-deepening meta-labyrinth of his celebrated Koker Trilogy (“Where Is the Friend’s House?” “And Life Goes On,” “Through the Olive Trees”). What should you see? As in so much of Kiarostami’s work, there are endless possibilities and no wrong answers.


A Taste of Kiarostami

Where: Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica

Tickets: $12 ($8 with membership)

Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.: “Like Someone in Love,” “24 Frames”

Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.: “Taste of Cherry,” “Ten”

Saturday, Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.: “Close-Up,” “The Wind Will Carry Us”

Sunday, Aug. 11, 2 p.m.: “Where Is the Friend’s House?” “And Life Goes On,” “Through the Olive Trees”