The People’s Film Collective of Kolkata organised a film festival “ Kiarostami and his times” in honour of the recently deceased legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami at Jogesh Mime Academy, Kolkata on 15th August. Iranian cinema has always been about circumventing the strict censorship and regulations imposed upon by the government of Iran in ways that not only express their views but also increase the appeal of Iranian cinema. Abbas Kiarostami was a pioneer of Iranian cinema and he almost singlehandedly put Iranian films on the world map.
The film festival screened many of his critically acclaimed films like The Bread and the Alley, The Traveller, Where is the friend’s home, Close up and others. Experts on Iranian films informed the audience about the severe restrictions on film by the Iranian government and how Iranian cinema with the help of brilliant filmmakers like Kiarostami has managed to make its presence felt on world cinema despite all the regulations.
Kiarostami’s film “Where is the friend’s home” is a innocent tale of friendship among young classmates. It is the story of two friends Ahmed and Nematzadeh. The story begins when Nematzadeh forgets his notebook in class and Ahmed finds out that he has taken Nematzadeh’s notebook which was identical to his. Ahmed ignores his mother’s instructions to set off for his friend’s house in a distant village. The journey is what the film all about. Certain parts of the film may even remind the Bengali film-lover of Satyajit Ray’s films thereby making them wonder how two filmmakers from very different lands tend to view things the same way.
The whole film festival was one where people got a taste of Iranian cinema and also got to know about life in Iran and how even the most severe regulations cannot hinder the growth of talent.