Kevin B. Lee commemorates Abbas Kiarostami with a video tribute


With Abbas Kiarostami‘s passing last weekend, we lost one of the most accomplished navigators of the moving image in our lifetime. Kiarostami’s relentlessly open and inquisitive understanding of cinema was and remains indispensable at a time when “cinema” appears to be dissolving into something else. The advent of digital media and social media platforms has led to an explosion of moving image forms, transforming what we once knew as “film” into any number of modes and mediums. I wager that most people who’ve seen Kiarostami’s films haven’t seen them on film, but on DVD or online video. What does it mean to watch them in these conditions, when they for the most part seem intended for the cloistered quarters and undivided attention afforded by the theatrical cinematic space? Even when Kiarostami embraced digital filmmaking in the 2000s, he did so in such a way to stretch attention spans, not compress or cater to them.

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