Abbas Kiarostami, one of Iran’s most prominent breakout filmmakers and helmer of more than 40 projects across a four-decade career, has died in Paris at the age of 76 following a bout with gastrointestinal cancer, local Iranian news agencies reported early Monday.
The Tehran native became a driving force during the Iranian New Wave throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, founding a filmmaking department at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, which produced his first short film, The Bread and Alley (below), in 1970, and later went on to fund scores of acclaimed Iranian films such as 1989’s Bashu, the Little Stranger.
Kiarostami is perhaps best known to international audiences for his film Taste of Cherry, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
Further forging a career as a photographer and artist with numerous gallery shows throughout the years, Kiarostami continued to make films well into the 2000s, producing and directing his own projects in addition to writing screenplays for others, including two 1995 pictures, The Journey and The White Balloon, for renowned director Jafar Panahi, who previously served as Kiarostami’s assistant.
He’s also noted for his Koker trilogy, released between 1987 and 1994, 1990’s Close-Up, and 1999’s The Wind Will Carry Us, which won the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. One of his final features, the Juliette Binoche-starring Certified Copy, won the French screen icon her first Cannes Best Actress honor at the festival’s 2010 gathering.
Though his last feature film as a director, Like Someone in Love, was released four years ago, Kiarostami was one of a record-setting 683 invitees asked to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just last week. He is survived by two children, Ahmad and Bahman, the latter of which has directed seven documentaries since 1993.