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Abbas Kiarostami (Contemporary Film Directors) Paperback – May, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

" ... a useful basic introduction to Kiarostami and contemporary Iranian film... The clearly written and comprehensive essays would be of particular interest and use to those interested in cultivating a richer understanding of world cinema...Since the field of Kiarostami scholarship remains regrettably sparse, this monograph is an crucial addition to film studies libraries everywhere."--Film Interational, 11, 2004:5

About the Author

MEHRNAZ SAEED-VAFA is a filmmaker and faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. She is the author of essays and articles on Iranian cinema.

Jonathan Rosenbaum is film critic at the "Chicago Reader", author of "Moving Places" (1995) and "Placing Movies" (1995), both published by California, editor of "This is Orson Welles" (1993), and a member of the New York Film Festival selection committee.
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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Film Directors
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252071115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252071119
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book consists of a 41 page essay by Rosenbaum, a 30 page essay by Saeed-Vafa, a 22 page dialogue between the two authors and ends with 20 pages of various interviews with Kiarostami. Rosenbaum, always a strong proponent of world cinema, gives an good introduction to Iranian cinema in general and also to Kiarostami. Saeed-Vafa writes as a native Iranian and from a feminist perspective. Both essays are interesting and informative.

My major criticism comes in the dialogue between the authors: Rosenbaum uses the conversation to continue a spat he was having with fellow writer Howard Hampton, who thought Rosenbaum liked foreign directors too much and domestic directors too little. While Saeed-Vafa tries to bring the dialogue to more relevant topics, Rosebaum continually brings Hampton back up: "What about Hampton's charge that I..." and later "Maybe Hampton thinks I'm being snobbish..." He just comes off as being petty. The two authors also take shots at well-known movie critic Roger Ebert for not liking Kiarostami.

Overall, this is a good introduction to Kiarostami and I would still recommend it to those interested in him or Iranian cinema in general, but the dialogue section gets a little bogged down with the professional spat between Rosenbaum and Hampton.
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