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Abbas Kiarostami's body arrives in Tehran among mourning crowds of artists


Report by Radio Zamaneh; photos by Mehr News Agency

On 8 July, Abbas Kirostami’s body arrived in Tehran from Paris; a crowd of Iranian film directors, actors, actresses and other artists were in Tehran airport to pay their respects.

Abbas Kiarostami’s body in Tehran airport with his signature on the coffin
(photo by Ehsan Naderipour, Islamic Republic News Agency)

Kiarostami, a director whose films served a poetic introduction to the lives of the ordinary Iranians, died Monday, July 4, at his home in Paris. He was 76 and battling gastrointestinal cancer.

His sons Ahmad and Bahman Kiarostami had attended a funeral service for him in Paris on 8 July 2016 before his body was air transported to Iran.

Abbas Kiarostami’s funeral service in Paris

The crowd that had gathered for this service in Paris held a vigil by the river Seine. They then allowed the Seine waves to take photos of Kiarostami that the crowd had left on the river floating. It was symbolic moment of saying goodbye to a film director that many Iranians have come to passionately appreciate.

There is funeral scheduled for Sunday 10 July in Tehran. Kiarostami’s body will be escorted from the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults were Kiarostami first started his job as a filmmaker.

Kiarostami has mentioned in many interviews that the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults was where he became a filmmaker the place for “the making of an artist.”

Abbas Kiarostami’s body on the shoulders of his fellow artists and friends

Kiarostami’s son, Ahmad will not be able to attend his father’s funeral in Tehran. He has been involved with Diaspora dissident organizations and has security concerns for travelling to Iran.

In an emotional Facebook post, Ahmad Kiarostami asked anyone who is attending his father’s funeral to wear their most beautiful attires: “if you are going to say goodbye to my father, wear your best attire that would be appropriate for a celebration of my father’s productive and creative life.”

Many famous Iranian filmmakers and artists had gathers in the House of Artists in Tehran and they all went to the airport together to pay their respects to the body of Kiarostami. The Ministry of Islamic Guidance officials were also there and they had paved down a red carpet.

Tehran airport: Iranian artists pay their respects to the body of late Abbas Kiarostami on the night of 8 July 2016

Reza Mirkarimi, a director, screenwriter and the current CEO of Iranian House of Cinema , made an emotional speech criticising the spectacle of the “red carpet” that was paved by the Iranian government.

Mirkarimi in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance said: “Hello, welcome home master. Take this welcoming ceremony of all the other welcomings that were never extended to you.”

Bahman, Kiarostami’s son who is also a filmmaker has accompanied his father’s body from france but was not feeling well and did not make a speech.

In sorrow of passing of Abbas Kiarostami
cartoon by Mehdi Motazedian, Shargh dalily

Before the arrival of Kiarostami’s body, hundreds of Iranians attended a candle vigil ceremony to mourn his death on the streets of Tehran

Iranian politician, mostly from the moderate reformist groups, also flooded the twitter with condolence messages.

President Hassan Rohani said on Twitter on July 5 that the director’s “deep concern toward life and invitation to peace and friendship” will be a “lasting achievement” of his work.

The great director’s films are marked by his gaze at human relations in times of struggles and death. His films are about life and strive of humans to stay alive and feel empathy for the other.

His death became the main headline of numerous media inside Iran and in the past week people of Iran have been mourning him on social media networks.

Kiarostami’s cinema was made in Iran but was close reading of human relation with the other and as such this cinema found global audiences. His film ‘Taste of Cherry’ which is about a man driving around in town and looking for help to commit suicide, received the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival in 1997.



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