Tomorrow will be the start of the Abbas Kiarostami retrospective at the MOMA here in New York City. Even those cinephiles who have little familiarity with Persian cinema can probably remember Kiarostami’s A Taste of Cherry (1997), which marked the onset of a new vogue in foreign cinema; not only was Iranian cinema fast becoming hip, it eroded the prejudices Westerners might have held regarding the genre (ie, Bollywood and India). Kiarostami weaves throughout his works a common thread of introspection, solitude and man on a search.
Iranians are often bogged down with pessimistic tendencies, possibly the result of political events taking place in that country since the late 70s, when the Ayatollahs overthrew the government. Kiarostami exploits this sucessfully in his movies, and exposes attitudes without flourish. Still, his films contains a poetry which is sought-after by many cinephiles.