Last Updated: July 6, 2007By Tags:

Historical precedents notwithstanding, France has had a better relationship with Iran than America. Both France and Iran share a love for auteur cinema. As a starting point, it might be fair to say that Iranians love Jean-Luc Godard and the French love Abbas Kiarostami. In fact, the two men used to admire each other. Godard once said, ‘film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.’ When asked about this in the Guardian (April 2005), however, Kiarostami replied that ‘Godard has not seen any of my movies in a few years and he made a sly remark about me in the press, without provocation.’ Well, Iranians can be especially sensitive. Both men are living, Kiarostami shoots at home and in Europe but Godard hasn’t been heard from in a while. Getting these two together in a room to discuss past, present and future should produce some great results. In the South of France recently, Samira Makhmalbaf could be seen strolling with her father Mohsen Makhmalbaf, both admired filmmakers though the latter has the longer track record. Samira wore black pants, a black blouse, and matching government-prescribed black headdress; France seemed to suit them well, somehow. Perhaps it’s the smidgen of dourness the French and Iranians have in common. And a little bit of dourness is great for auteur cinema. For an example of France‘s devotion to Kiarostami, see Kiarostami Le Magnifique, Cahiers du cinéma, no. 493, July/August 1995.

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