Workshop with Abbas Kiarostami
On the second day of Kustendorf 2011, within the Contemporary Trends programme, the new Abbas Kiarostami move, Certified Copy, was shown. As the special guest of the festival, Kiarostami led a workshop after the movie with young film authors, guests of the festival, and numerous visitors in attendance.
In the beginning of the workshop, Kiarostami thanked the audience for attentively watching his movie; adding, with a smile, that regardless of the amount of movies he has filmed, it greatly affects him when even one audience member leaves the screening.
Upon the request to give advice to young filmmakers, Kiarostami briefly stated,
- Although I am in a certain age now, I am not the right person to give advice. I don’t believe that advice works at all. But I would like to tell these young people to continue to care. They should never stop caring, and to not live a life of empty promises.
Speaking about the movie Certified Copy, which, according to him, is based on real events and people, Kiarostami emphasized that he believes that the relationship between a man and a woman is a universal thing and is the same everywhere, regardless of the differences in cultures, religion or between nationalities. Pointing out that this movie is the only one that he has filmed outside of Iran – which is one of the most frequently asked questions by journalists – Kiarostami reminded the audience that many years ago, he filmed movies in Uganda and Italy. The filming of this movie, his universal story, and the fact that English, French, and Italian are spoken in it, has given him added confidence for his next movie that will be filmed in Japan.
In response to the question of whether or not there is a difference in filming in Iran and abroad, Kiarostami explained,
- I like to shoot in Iran, in my own language, since there is no producer who asks me for a detailed script. I film my films there with my own money, I prefer to be free to do thing my way. When you work with the big producers, you have to stick to the original scenario.
Adding that contemporary production decides rules and limits the length of shooting, and even the length of the movie itself, Kiarostami said that he believes in the continuity of a story, in the continuity of a movie, and in the idea that, even if all the characters in the movie die, the movie can go on.
Students and journalists were also interested in his experience in working with a star like Juliette Binoche, since Kiarostami is famous for having non-professional actors star in most of his movies. Mr. Kiarostami commented that,
- More than ten years ago, I promised Juliette that we would work on a movie together. When I showed her the script for this movie, she afreed immediately. The lead female role was, in a away, written for her. From the beginning, she behaved like a professional actress and not like a star; she was completely natural, but when I told her that she could improvise, she didn’t want to. She told me that the script, just as it was, was good enough. Juliette wholeheartedly worked on this project.
In the end of the workshop, Abbas Kiarostami thanked the students, journalist, and visitors of Kustendorf, for their attendance, who, with a thunderous standing ovation, parted with this great director.