View Poll Results: Abbas Kiarostami

Voters
0. You may not vote on this poll
  • Alpha

    0 0%
  • Beta

    0 0%
  • Gamma

    0 0%
  • Delta

    0 0%
  • ILE (ENTp)

    0 0%
  • SEI (ISFp)

    0 0%
  • ESE (ESFj)

    0 0%
  • LII (INTj)

    0 0%
  • EIE (ENFj)

    0 0%
  • LSI (ISTj)

    0 0%
  • SLE (ESTp)

    0 0%
  • IEI (INFp)

    0 0%
  • SEE (ESFp)

    0 0%
  • ILI (INTp)

    0 0%
  • LIE (ENTj)

    0 0%
  • ESI (ISFj)

    0 0%
  • LSE (ESTj)

    0 0%
  • EII (INFj)

    0 0%
  • IEE (ENFp)

    0 0%
  • SLI (ISTp)

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 1 of 1

Thread: Abbas Kiarostami

  1. #1
    WE'RE ALL GOING HOME HERO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,001
    Mentioned
    25 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Abbas Kiarostami

    Suedehead typed him EII. I think that’s a good typing. I’d also consider ILI, LII, ESI, LIE, etc. (Before I saw Suedehead's typing I wanted Kiarostami to be ILI-Ni, yet I'm probably wrong I guess). I doubt he’s Beta since his movies and stories tend to bore me, although I didn’t dislike Taste of Cherry and Close-Up; nevertheless, they are not movies I have a strong desire to watch again. I doubt I will ever watch either of them again, unless I have to for school or something (which is unlikely).




    Abbas Kiarostami: “It’s not conscious, but now that one can see all my films as a body of work, it seems like they all talk about the same things. Someone once said that every filmmaker basically makes only one film in his lifetime, but he cuts it down and offers it in cinematic installments to his audience over a period of time.

    “It’s difficult to talk about the things that I like because you see them in my films. It’s easier for me to talk about things that I don’t like. What I don’t like, you don’t see in my films. But in all, I don’t like to engage in telling stories. I don’t like to arouse the viewer emotionally or give him advice. I don’t like to belittle him or burden him with a sense of guilt. Those are the things I don’t like in the movies.

    “I think a good film is one that has a lasting power, and you start to reconstruct it right after you leave the theater. There are a lot of films that seem to be boring, but they are decent films. On the other hand, there are films that nail you to your seat and overwhelm you to the point that you forget everything, but you feel cheated later. These are the films that take you hostage. I absolutely don’t like the films in which the filmmakers take their viewers hostage and provoke them.

    “I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater. I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater. Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks. Those are the kind of films I like.”


    “The imagination is one of the most distinct and extraordinary gifts granted to human beings. We are aware of our other senses, such as sight, taste and hearing, and we are grateful for them. But we don’t seem to know what immense possibilities are open to us through the imagination.

    “What is the function of dreaming? Where did it come from? Why do we have the ability to dream? And why must we dream? If it doesn’t have a function in our life, then what is the reason for it? I finally found a reason. When do we resort to dreaming? At times when we are unhappy with our circumstances. And how extraordinary is it that no dictatorship in the world can control it? No system of inquisition can control one’s fantasies. They can throw you in jail, but you still have the ability to live your sentence outside the prison without anyone holding you there.

    Through the imagination, you can pass over the insurmountable walls without leaving any trace of yourself, and you can always go back. Now the question is, once out, why go back? That has to do with the credibility of reality – you have to go back and see what your reality is. In fact, through dreaming, you have the opportunity to tolerate some of the unchangeable hardships of life. You get out, you dream, you are refreshed and you go back. It’s like being in a stuffy room and opening a window. You let the air come in and then you breathe. In my mind, our dreams are windows in our lives and the significance of cinema is in its similarity to this window.”


    Regarding Tarantino (films): “ . . . since violence will never leave the American film, an important thing Tarantino has done is to find a way to at least make fun of violence, and that brings down the tension of violence.”


    - from Kiarostami’s film Taste of Cherry

    Mr. Badii: “I know my decision goes against your beliefs. You believe God gives life and takes it when He sees fit. But there comes a time when a man can’t go on. He’s exhausted and can’t wait for God to act. So he decides to act himself. There — that’s what’s called ‘suicide’. You see, the word ‘suicide’ isn’t only made for dictionaries. It has to have a practical application. And here’s the application. Man has to decide on its application.”

    The seminarian: “I don’t really understand. Tell me what I have to do. If I can, I’ll do it for you.”

    Mr. Badii: “I’ve decided to free myself from this life. What for? It wouldn’t help you to know and I can’t talk about it. And you wouldn’t understand. It’s not because you don’t understand, but you can’t feel what I feel. You can sympathize, understand, show compassion. But feel my pain? No. You suffer and so do I. I understand you. You comprehend my pain, but you can’t feel it. That’s why I ask you to be a true Moslem and help me. Can you?”



    - from Close-Up

    Hossain Sabzian: Being close to nature lifts the burden of worries from your breast. One must be in touch with nature. “‘I asked the Muse why she was hiding’.” “She replied: ‘It is you who are hiding.’” We are the slaves of a mask hiding our true face. If we free ourselves from this, the beauty of truth will be ours. I wanted to go to the mountains to study myself. Nature is a mirror reflecting ourselves.


    “Every time I feel sad in prison I think of the verse in the Koran which says, ‘To remember God is the best consolation for a troubled heart.’

    I feel the need when I’m depressed or overcome by worries to express the anguish in my soul, all my sorrows that no one wants to hear about. And then, when I come across a good man who portrays all my sufferings in his films it makes me want to see them over and over again. A man with the courage to portray people who play with others’ lives, the rich who are indifferent to the simple needs of the poor. That is why this book brought me consolation. It speaks of things I would have liked to express myself.”



    - from Walking with the Wind: Poems by Abbas Kiarostami; p. 8-12 (Introduction):

    There are poems here in which the act of perception can be the whole point, as in the poem on page 57:

    Autumn afternoon:
    a sycamore leaf
    falls softly
    and rests
    on its own shadow.


    Strictly speaking, it is obvious that a leaf falls on its shadow. It is a process so logical it should bear no comment, except, of course, that the observer can forget the logical conclusion that shadow and leaf are connected. Observation corrects consciousness. It is our unscientific selves who are capable of surprise at how exactly the two match up.

    Where does Kiarostami’s leaf fall in relation to the long and imposing shadow of Persian poetry? Stylistically, no poet in the last half century or so has gone as far as Kiarostami to signal a break with the formal features of poetry in that glorious, millennium-old aesthetic tradition. Even Nima Yushij (1897-1960), the poet most often cited as the modernizer of Persian poetry, did not break entirely free of rhyme and meter. In that sense, at least, Kiarostami may be called the most radical Iranian poet of his generation, perhaps of the century. Thematically, Kiarostami the poet relies more substantively on the conventions that define poetry in his culture. He certainly uses the basic conceptual elements of the Persian lyrical tradition, often with philosophical or meditative underpinnings. The technique of developing poetic discourse through pairs of corresponding or oppositional images, concepts, or modes of existence informs both the ghazals of Rumi (1207-73) and Hafez (1320-88) and shapes a great number of the poems in this volume. Thus the white of snow, while it contrasts with the color of coal or of the raven’s wings, coincides aesthetically with the white of the pigeon or the cloud.

    This play of correspondences and contrasts—of age and youth or of smooth surfaces versus craggy ones—apears more stark in those compositions, like the poem on page 69, that simply record observations without explicitly or implicitly commenting upon them:

    An old villager
    on the mountain path —
    a young man’s call from afar.


    Or the poem on page 74, where the contrast between the moon and the mountain peak generates a mood of buoyancy and escape:

    The round moon
    rises gingerly
    above the volcanic peak.


    At times, the principle of contrasts turns into a transformative power that stretches from the observed scene to the desire within the poem. The contrast between the roaring train and the butterfly sleeping on the rail, and the halting of one before the other in the poem on page 167, conveys not just an observed event but a colossal will to change the way of the world. Similarly, the visible correspondence and conceptual opposition between the crescent “new” moon and the “worn-out” sickles on page 192, a direct borrowing from Hafez, the greatest Persian lyricist of all, opens a conceptual space far beyond the image at hand. In a famous poem by Hafez, the crescent “blade” of the new moon against the backdrop of the blue-green evening sky calls the speaker inward to regret how little he has cultivated, how little he can expect to reap at harvest time. Kiarostami’s variation makes the pale moon seem to overpower the emblems of physical work.


    There is something in the scope of our poet’s project that resembles another tradition of Persian aesthetics. Like Rumi, the poet of the largest questions in all of Persian poetry, he reaches out to the world rather than focusing on any local topic. His thinking is cosmopolitan, humane, and global. This may explain the simultaneous presence of the nun, the soldier, the villager, and the many other characters that populate these poems. The simplest classification would include humans and animals; but there are objects impersonating them as well, as with the gullible bee fooled by the floral pattern on a Persian rug in the poem on page 87. Then there is the strong sense of seasonal change, of the falling of the leaves or the snow, or of the enveloping fog—a constant reminder of a fundamental mystery.

    The most central personage of all is the wind. Doubtless there are traditions in every culture that relate the imagination directly to the elements, and the idea could easily extend to modern Persian poetry, where poets often inhabit one or another of the four elements. The great nature poet Sohrab Sepehri (1930-80), for example, is by and large a poet of earth and soil. Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-67), the voice best known abroad, who takes in the view outside her window with an eye to the skyline or the space between buildings, strikes us as a poet of air. There is a poem by Farrokhzad, “The Wind Will Carry Us,” which opens with a memorably personalized landscape:

    Alas, in this small night of mine
    the wind keeps its appointment with the leaves of the trees.
    In this small night of mine is the fear of ruin.



    Kiarostami, whose use of this poem’s title for a recent film suggests his appreciation for it, evokes the wind to a comparable effect. Even though he is unlikely to evince a mood so personally—with an “alas” or with a trope that absorbs the scene into self, as we see in the phrase “this small night of mine”—he, too, is primarily and ultimately a first-person observer who frequently personifies the forces of nature. While Kiarostami rarely expresses or induces feelings of anguish or melancholy, in both poets personal perception works to justify the figurative language as the figurative language defines the poetic voice. In other words, the similarities, though considerable, are thematic, not emotive.

    At the same time, in Farrokhzad awareness of the spaces between characters — both the emotional distance and the physical space, the air between images that gives her vignettes their shape — colors the mood of the lyric vision. Kiarostami’s sensibility, too, makes us aware of the space between things, the texture of the air, the space in which invisible forces play around us. Yet his is ultimately a more serene and benevolent, perhaps a more ennobling, space. This subtle difference is made concrete in Kiarostami’s more rural and less citified variation of Farrokhzad’s “air.” Nevertheless, his vision, too, is largely philosophical or at least meditative, as distinct from social. In some of these poems, the consciousness contemplating an ordinary scene comes away with the kernel of a thought, distilled from the scene, that seems to stand above it ever so tentatively yet in a genuine philosophical relation to it. Such, for example, is the thought of release that arises from the contemplation of a pair of trembling hands tightly drawing the arrow in the poem on page 38; the momentary hesitation thus concretized leads to a final question: “for the bird . . .?” It is as if the human eye, simply by observing, bestows a meaning on the workings of the world that the mind quickly questions. Conversely, the absence of the human agent is cause not just for regret but for angst. Kiarostami’s poems, always placing the human inside the natural, often pointing to hints of a grand design just outside the human reach, share the heritage of Persian mysticism as it is manifested in much modernist poetry, where nature is not only animate but animating.


    - p. 13:

    Habitually, nonchalantly, Kiarostami combined the supple lexicon of the Persian language with the vast aesthetic potential of Persian poetry to make that august tradition new. Characteristically, he throws the spotlight on the object of observation rather than on the perceiving mind to keep our attention fixed on the poetic nature of our world. In this way, his poetry embodies and exhibits the most abiding concerns of the entire tradition: the structure of the ineffable, those relations that cannot be reduced to human logic—like the enigma of a dog’s fidelity, the bitterness of truth, the puzzle of poverty in the midst of plenty. The poems in this book often acknowledge and celebrate the presence of mystery in our midst. Whether explicitly, such as in the cycle of poems that open with the phrase “the more I think,” or more subtly, as in many other instances in the following pages, they place the human within a world of nature, but nature widened to emphasize the mundane and the quotidian as well as the supernatural. Kiarostami has thus grafted the most abiding aspirations of the best of Persian poets, both classical and modern, to contemporary concerns. If he can be said as a filmmaker to have led the art form of the twentieth century to new aesthetic heights, these restless, airy walks with the wind may guide us step by step to a new verbal kinetic.



    - p. 24:

    One hundred obedient soldiers
    enter the barracks
    early on a moonlit night.

    Rebellious dreams!


    - p. 25:

    A little patch of snow —
    souvenir of a long winter
    in early spring . . .


    - p. 27:

    White-haired woman
    Eyeing the cherry blossoms:
    “Has the spring of my old age arrived?”


    - p. 28:

    The old nun
    dispenses advice
    to the young nuns
    amid cherry trees.


    - p. 30:

    Aimlessly
    in mild spring sunshine
    the butterfly circling round itself.


    - p. 31:

    In the spring wind
    a school notebook’s pages turn over —
    a child sleeping
    on his little hands . . .


    - p. 34:

    It flies and settles
    settles and flies away again —
    the grasshopper
    in the direction it alone knows.


    p. 35:

    Six short nuns
    stroll
    amid tall sycamores.

    The shriek of crows.


    - p. 36:

    From a crack in the ashen sky
    a drop of light
    falls
    onto the spring’s first blossom.


    - p. 37:

    Amid thousands of cherry blossoms
    the honeybee
    hesitates.


    - p. 38:

    Trembling hands,
    an arrow drawn tight:
    moment of release
    for the bird . . .?


    - p. 43:

    Wellsprings
    in the heart of faraway mountains.
    Nobody to drink the water,
    not even a bird.


    - p. 46:

    The spider
    stops
    and takes a moment’s break
    to watch the sun rise.


    - p. 48:

    How calmly
    gloriously
    the moon rises
    on the eastern horizon.


    - p. 53:

    Moonlight
    thaws
    thin ice on the old river.


    - p. 57:

    Autumn afternoon:
    a sycamore leaf
    falls softly
    and rests
    on its own shadow.


    - p. 60:

    As the wind rises
    which leaf’s turn is it
    to fall down?


    - p. 62:

    A pregnant woman
    weeps silently
    in a sleeping man’s bed.


    - p. 64:

    An exhausted traveler
    on his way alone —
    one parasang
    from his destination.


    - p. 67:

    A little nameless flower
    blossoming alone
    in the crack of a huge mountain.


    - p. 71:

    Nobody
    can do anything
    when the sky
    means to shed rain.


    - p. 74:

    The round moon
    rises gingerly
    above the volcanic peak.


    - p. 75:

    The sun’s disk
    pale
    in the east
    as fog settles.


    - p. 84:

    Moonlight
    shining through the glass
    on the pale face
    of the young nun asleep.


    - p. 87:

    The autumn sky
    shines through the window
    on the flowers of a carpet
    A bee beats its head against the glass.


    - p. 94:

    The thick fog of dawn
    over a cotton field —
    the sound of thunder from afar.


    - p. 95:

    On the fifth day of clouds
    sunflowers
    whisper with lowered heads.


    - p. 97:

    The sun beams
    its first golden rays
    on the majestic mantle that is the spider’s web.


    p. 98:

    Snow descends
    from the black clouds
    with the whiteness of snow.


    - p. 99:

    Inside the shrine
    I thought a thousand thoughts
    and when I left
    it had snowed.


    - p. 112:

    Flying over a volcanic peak
    the dove
    composed its first epic song.


    - p. 113:

    Azure rain
    on cherry blossoms.
    Tinted blossoms
    at spring sunset.


    - p. 114:

    Soot from the candle
    blackens
    the butterfly’s colorful wing.


    - p. 120:

    Angry confrontation between two prostitutes
    leaving the church
    on Sunday afternoon.


    - p. 122:

    The earthquake
    destroyed
    even the ants’ grain silo.


    - p. 124:

    The little apple
    floats spinning
    at the base of a little waterfall.


    - p. 156:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    why the truth should be so bitter.


    - p. 157:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    why the Milky Way
    is so distant.


    - p. 158:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    the reason
    to fear death so much.


    - p. 159:

    Will my ears ever hear again
    the sound of the nearby river’s rebellious tide
    as the snows thaw?


    - p. 163:

    The honeybee
    is amazed
    by the fragrance of an unknown flower.


    - p. 167:

    The train shrieks
    and comes to a halt.

    A butterfly sleeps on the rail.


    - p. 171:

    The scattering of a few withered autumn leaves
    in the spring breeze.


    - p. 176:

    The mirror breaks
    in a plain woman’s hand —
    a hundred streams welling up
    in the dead of a dark night.


    - p. 177:

    My shadow
    keeps me company
    this moonlit evening.


    - p. 184:

    Nobody knows
    that the little stream
    gushing from the heart of a small fountain
    is headed for the sea.


    - p. 191:

    The wind howls
    in deserted alleys —
    not a passerby,
    not even a single dog.


    - p. 192:

    The slender crescent
    scatters its pale light
    on hundreds of worn-out sickles
    on a midsummer night.


    - p. 193:

    The far end of the unpaved road
    merges with the cloudy sky —
    a few raindrops
    in the dust.


    - p. 195:

    The dark cloud
    moves forth to welcome the moon’s disk
    on a moonlit night.


    - p. 211:

    The question in the moon’s eye:
    are those who watch her today
    the same ones
    who watched her thousands of years ago?


    - p. 214:

    Songs of the rice farmers:
    some happy, some sad
    their melodies
    exactly alike.


    - p. 222:

    I stroll
    at autumn sunset
    along gold and reddish waves.


    - p. 228:

    I cry out
    across a deep valley
    expecting the echo of my voice.





    - from Abbas Kiarostami’s foreword to Gohar Homayounpour’s book Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran; p. ix-xii:

    The first thing that impressed me as I began to read this book was how the world that Gohar Homayounpour explores through the psychoanaytic lens closely resembles what I see through the lens of my camera. I caught myself smiling and then realized that I was thinking about an old Iranian saying: “Jana sokhan az zabane ma migooi.” “Dear, you speak from my heart!”


    The truth is that neither of us considers our world merely a personal space where the slightest discord might bring discontent. Neither is this world of ours a public court of law where we sit in judgment of others’ private tragedies; we are only observing the illusive world of everyday life through multiple lenses, hoping to bring some sense to it through reflection and analysis. We try our best not to be provincial observers. Our world is not limited to our neighborhood, our city, or even our motherland. “Pain is pain everywhere,” as Gohar Homayounpour says about the experience of doing psychoanalysis in Tehran and in the United States. For years I have been trying to convey the same message. My films attempt to express the human condition rather than the specific conditions or masks that localize this or the other group or person.


    I know from experience how hard it is to explore this existential condition without falling into the trap of clichés, of the status quo, and of all that we take as given and as intransigently real. It is not an easy task for anyone, and I am sure that it has not been easy for Gohar Homayounpour to break away from clichés, to leave the sanctuary of stereotypes, and give up the pleasure of adhering to simpleminded images of the other. Of course, these days, there is a good market for films and books that portray Iran and Iranians in stereotypical terms. Homayounpour would have easily gained popularity by painting an evocative and passionate orientalist caricature of Iranians that would reinforce people’s prejudices. She could have even gotten her work on the bestseller list. Resisting this temptation is undeniably a sign of nobility, dignity, sincerity, and, last but not least, evidence of an independent and original mind. It was this aspect of the writer that encouraged me to write this foreword; the brave sincerity, the original writing style, and the level of discourse that is indeed worthy of praise and admiration.

    It was particularly fascinating to me—as I’m sure it will be to other readers—to experience her world through her words, and her complicated psychoanalytic encounters through her sophisticated and unassuming narration. What is apparently the account of her own story involving her relationship with her parents in Tehran put me in touch with my own personal story involving my relationships.

    At this point, let me assure you in no uncertain terms that I would not recommend this book to those who are still searching for the “touristic attractions” of my country. Luckily for those people, the production of that kind of literature, films, paintings, and photography is prospering these days! However, Homayounpour’s book is an extraordinary work that is recommended for those who consider human pain and suffering as an existential phenomenon. Pain is beyond doubt pain everywhere; I have never heard of an Eastern or Western cancer or of a radiography that would show the nationality, religion, language, or culture of the patient. This book is a radiographic picture of the human condition in Iran, not a touristic photograph of Iranians.

    Gohar Homayounpour did not choose the easy way out, and remained faithful to the title of the book: Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran. This is in fact the account of the experience of a psychoanalyst working in today’s Tehran, an account that continues to grow on you, gets you to know her as an analyst, surprises you, and makes you question your own presuppositions. Imagine how I was pleasantly surprised when I read that the Iranian women in the book do not narrate the injustices and the oppression that they face in our society today, but talk about the internal paradoxes, conflicts, and dualities they experience while coming face to face with their womanhood—just like any other women in the world.

    I definitely consider Gohar Homayounpour’s achievement an uncommon one. In the format of a biographical novel, and using psychoanalytic free association, she opens up windows and sheds light onto the darkness of the human soul.
















    Kiarostami: “It’s not conscious, but now that one can see all my films as a body of work, it seems like they all talk about the same things. Someone once said that every filmmaker basically makes only one film in his lifetime, but he cuts it down and offers it in cinematic installments to his audience over a period of time.

    “It’s difficult to talk about the things that I like because you see them in my films. It’s easier for me to talk about things that I don’t like. What I don’t like, you don’t see in my films. But in all, I don’t like to engage in telling stories. I don’t like to arouse the viewer emotionally or give him advice. I don’t like to belittle him or burden him with a sense of guilt. Those are the things I don’t like in the movies.

    “I think a good film is one that has a lasting power, and you start to reconstruct it right after you leave the theater. There are a lot of films that seem to be boring, but they are decent films. On the other hand, there are films that nail you to your seat and overwhelm you to the point that you forget everything, but you feel cheated later. These are the films that take you hostage. I absolutely don’t like the films in which the filmmakers take their viewers hostage and provoke them.

    “I prefer the films that put their audience to sleep in the theater. I think those films are kind enough to allow you a nice nap and not leave you disturbed when you leave the theater. Some films have made me doze off in the theater, but the same films have made me stay up at night, wake up thinking about them in the morning, and keep on thinking about them for weeks. Those are the kind of films I like.”


    “The imagination is one of the most distinct and extraordinary gifts granted to human beings. We are aware of our other senses, such as sight, taste and hearing, and we are grateful for them. But we don’t seem to know what immense possibilities are open to us through the imagination.

    “What is the function of dreaming? Where did it come from? Why do we have the ability to dream? And why must we dream? If it doesn’t have a function in our life, then what is the reason for it? I finally found a reason. When do we resort to dreaming? At times when we are unhappy with our circumstances. And how extraordinary is it that no dictatorship in the world can control it? No system of inquisition can control one’s fantasies. They can throw you in jail, but you still have the ability to live your sentence outside the prison without anyone holding you there.

    Through the imagination, you can pass over the insurmountable walls without leaving any trace of yourself, and you can always go back. Now the question is, once out, why go back? That has to do with the credibility of reality – you have to go back and see what your reality is. In fact, through dreaming, you have the opportunity to tolerate some of the unchangeable hardships of life. You get out, you dream, you are refreshed and you go back. It’s like being in a stuffy room and opening a window. You let the air come in and then you breathe. In my mind, our dreams are windows in our lives and the significance of cinema is in its similarity to this window.”


    Regarding Tarantino (films): “ . . . since violence will never leave the American film, an important thing Tarantino has done is to find a way to at least make fun of violence, and that brings down the tension of violence.”


    - from Kiarostami’s film Taste of Cherry

    Mr. Badii: “I know my decision goes against your beliefs. You believe God gives life and takes it when He sees fit. But there comes a time when a man can’t go on. He’s exhausted and can’t wait for God to act. So he decides to act himself. There — that’s what’s called ‘suicide’. You see, the word ‘suicide’ isn’t only made for dictionaries. It has to have a practical application. And here’s the application. Man has to decide on its application.”

    The seminarian: “I don’t really understand. Tell me what I have to do. If I can, I’ll do it for you.”

    Mr. Badii: “I’ve decided to free myself from this life. What for? It wouldn’t help you to know and I can’t talk about it. And you wouldn’t understand. It’s not because you don’t understand, but you can’t feel what I feel. You can sympathize, understand, show compassion. But feel my pain? No. You suffer and so do I. I understand you. You comprehend my pain, but you can’t feel it. That’s why I ask you to be a true Moslem and help me. Can you?”



    - from Close-Up

    Hossain Sabzian: Being close to nature lifts the burden of worries from your breast. One must be in touch with nature. “‘I asked the Muse why she was hiding’.” “She replied: ‘It is you who are hiding.’” We are the slaves of a mask hiding our true face. If we free ourselves from this, the beauty of truth will be ours. I wanted to go to the mountains to study myself. Nature is a mirror reflecting ourselves.


    “Every time I feel sad in prison I think of the verse in the Koran which says, ‘To remember God is the best consolation for a troubled heart.’

    I feel the need when I’m depressed or overcome by worries to express the anguish in my soul, all my sorrows that no one wants to hear about. And then, when I come across a good man who portrays all my sufferings in his films it makes me want to see them over and over again. A man with the courage to portray people who play with others’ lives, the rich who are indifferent to the simple needs of the poor. That is why this book brought me consolation. It speaks of things I would have liked to express myself.”



    - from Walking with the Wind: Poems by Abbas Kiarostami; p. 8-12 (Introduction):

    There are poems here in which the act of perception can be the whole point, as in the poem on page 57:

    Autumn afternoon:
    a sycamore leaf
    falls softly
    and rests
    on its own shadow.


    Strictly speaking, it is obvious that a leaf falls on its shadow. It is a process so logical it should bear no comment, except, of course, that the observer can forget the logical conclusion that shadow and leaf are connected. Observation corrects consciousness. It is our unscientific selves who are capable of surprise at how exactly the two match up.

    Where does Kiarostami’s leaf fall in relation to the long and imposing shadow of Persian poetry? Stylistically, no poet in the last half century or so has gone as far as Kiarostami to signal a break with the formal features of poetry in that glorious, millennium-old aesthetic tradition. Even Nima Yushij (1897-1960), the poet most often cited as the modernizer of Persian poetry, did not break entirely free of rhyme and meter. In that sense, at least, Kiarostami may be called the most radical Iranian poet of his generation, perhaps of the century. Thematically, Kiarostami the poet relies more substantively on the conventions that define poetry in his culture. He certainly uses the basic conceptual elements of the Persian lyrical tradition, often with philosophical or meditative underpinnings. The technique of developing poetic discourse through pairs of corresponding or oppositional images, concepts, or modes of existence informs both the ghazals of Rumi (1207-73) and Hafez (1320-88) and shapes a great number of the poems in this volume. Thus the white of snow, while it contrasts with the color of coal or of the raven’s wings, coincides aesthetically with the white of the pigeon or the cloud.

    This play of correspondences and contrasts—of age and youth or of smooth surfaces versus craggy ones—apears more stark in those compositions, like the poem on page 69, that simply record observations without explicitly or implicitly commenting upon them:

    An old villager
    on the mountain path —
    a young man’s call from afar.


    Or the poem on page 74, where the contrast between the moon and the mountain peak generates a mood of buoyancy and escape:

    The round moon
    rises gingerly
    above the volcanic peak.


    At times, the principle of contrasts turns into a transformative power that stretches from the observed scene to the desire within the poem. The contrast between the roaring train and the butterfly sleeping on the rail, and the halting of one before the other in the poem on page 167, conveys not just an observed event but a colossal will to change the way of the world. Similarly, the visible correspondence and conceptual opposition between the crescent “new” moon and the “worn-out” sickles on page 192, a direct borrowing from Hafez, the greatest Persian lyricist of all, opens a conceptual space far beyond the image at hand. In a famous poem by Hafez, the crescent “blade” of the new moon against the backdrop of the blue-green evening sky calls the speaker inward to regret how little he has cultivated, how little he can expect to reap at harvest time. Kiarostami’s variation makes the pale moon seem to overpower the emblems of physical work.


    There is something in the scope of our poet’s project that resembles another tradition of Persian aesthetics. Like Rumi, the poet of the largest questions in all of Persian poetry, he reaches out to the world rather than focusing on any local topic. His thinking is cosmopolitan, humane, and global. This may explain the simultaneous presence of the nun, the soldier, the villager, and the many other characters that populate these poems. The simplest classification would include humans and animals; but there are objects impersonating them as well, as with the gullible bee fooled by the floral pattern on a Persian rug in the poem on page 87. Then there is the strong sense of seasonal change, of the falling of the leaves or the snow, or of the enveloping fog—a constant reminder of a fundamental mystery.

    The most central personage of all is the wind. Doubtless there are traditions in every culture that relate the imagination directly to the elements, and the idea could easily extend to modern Persian poetry, where poets often inhabit one or another of the four elements. The great nature poet Sohrab Sepehri (1930-80), for example, is by and large a poet of earth and soil. Forugh Farrokhzad (1935-67), the voice best known abroad, who takes in the view outside her window with an eye to the skyline or the space between buildings, strikes us as a poet of air. There is a poem by Farrokhzad, “The Wind Will Carry Us,” which opens with a memorably personalized landscape:

    Alas, in this small night of mine
    the wind keeps its appointment with the leaves of the trees.
    In this small night of mine is the fear of ruin.



    Kiarostami, whose use of this poem’s title for a recent film suggests his appreciation for it, evokes the wind to a comparable effect. Even though he is unlikely to evince a mood so personally—with an “alas” or with a trope that absorbs the scene into self, as we see in the phrase “this small night of mine”—he, too, is primarily and ultimately a first-person observer who frequently personifies the forces of nature. While Kiarostami rarely expresses or induces feelings of anguish or melancholy, in both poets personal perception works to justify the figurative language as the figurative language defines the poetic voice. In other words, the similarities, though considerable, are thematic, not emotive.

    At the same time, in Farrokhzad awareness of the spaces between characters — both the emotional distance and the physical space, the air between images that gives her vignettes their shape — colors the mood of the lyric vision. Kiarostami’s sensibility, too, makes us aware of the space between things, the texture of the air, the space in which invisible forces play around us. Yet his is ultimately a more serene and benevolent, perhaps a more ennobling, space. This subtle difference is made concrete in Kiarostami’s more rural and less citified variation of Farrokhzad’s “air.” Nevertheless, his vision, too, is largely philosophical or at least meditative, as distinct from social. In some of these poems, the consciousness contemplating an ordinary scene comes away with the kernel of a thought, distilled from the scene, that seems to stand above it ever so tentatively yet in a genuine philosophical relation to it. Such, for example, is the thought of release that arises from the contemplation of a pair of trembling hands tightly drawing the arrow in the poem on page 38; the momentary hesitation thus concretized leads to a final question: “for the bird . . .?” It is as if the human eye, simply by observing, bestows a meaning on the workings of the world that the mind quickly questions. Conversely, the absence of the human agent is cause not just for regret but for angst. Kiarostami’s poems, always placing the human inside the natural, often pointing to hints of a grand design just outside the human reach, share the heritage of Persian mysticism as it is manifested in much modernist poetry, where nature is not only animate but animating.


    - p. 13:

    Habitually, nonchalantly, Kiarostami combined the supple lexicon of the Persian language with the vast aesthetic potential of Persian poetry to make that august tradition new. Characteristically, he throws the spotlight on the object of observation rather than on the perceiving mind to keep our attention fixed on the poetic nature of our world. In this way, his poetry embodies and exhibits the most abiding concerns of the entire tradition: the structure of the ineffable, those relations that cannot be reduced to human logic—like the enigma of a dog’s fidelity, the bitterness of truth, the puzzle of poverty in the midst of plenty. The poems in this book often acknowledge and celebrate the presence of mystery in our midst. Whether explicitly, such as in the cycle of poems that open with the phrase “the more I think,” or more subtly, as in many other instances in the following pages, they place the human within a world of nature, but nature widened to emphasize the mundane and the quotidian as well as the supernatural. Kiarostami has thus grafted the most abiding aspirations of the best of Persian poets, both classical and modern, to contemporary concerns. If he can be said as a filmmaker to have led the art form of the twentieth century to new aesthetic heights, these restless, airy walks with the wind may guide us step by step to a new verbal kinetic.



    - p. 24:

    One hundred obedient soldiers
    enter the barracks
    early on a moonlit night.

    Rebellious dreams!


    - p. 25:

    A little patch of snow —
    souvenir of a long winter
    in early spring . . .


    - p. 27:

    White-haired woman
    Eyeing the cherry blossoms:
    “Has the spring of my old age arrived?”


    - p. 28:

    The old nun
    dispenses advice
    to the young nuns
    amid cherry trees.


    - p. 30:

    Aimlessly
    in mild spring sunshine
    the butterfly circling round itself.


    - p. 31:

    In the spring wind
    a school notebook’s pages turn over —
    a child sleeping
    on his little hands . . .


    - p. 34:

    It flies and settles
    settles and flies away again —
    the grasshopper
    in the direction it alone knows.


    p. 35:

    Six short nuns
    stroll
    amid tall sycamores.

    The shriek of crows.


    - p. 36:

    From a crack in the ashen sky
    a drop of light
    falls
    onto the spring’s first blossom.


    - p. 37:

    Amid thousands of cherry blossoms
    the honeybee
    hesitates.


    - p. 38:

    Trembling hands,
    an arrow drawn tight:
    moment of release
    for the bird . . .?


    - p. 43:

    Wellsprings
    in the heart of faraway mountains.
    Nobody to drink the water,
    not even a bird.


    - p. 46:

    The spider
    stops
    and takes a moment’s break
    to watch the sun rise.


    - p. 48:

    How calmly
    gloriously
    the moon rises
    on the eastern horizon.


    - p. 53:

    Moonlight
    thaws
    thin ice on the old river.


    - p. 57:

    Autumn afternoon:
    a sycamore leaf
    falls softly
    and rests
    on its own shadow.


    - p. 60:

    As the wind rises
    which leaf’s turn is it
    to fall down?


    - p. 62:

    A pregnant woman
    weeps silently
    in a sleeping man’s bed.


    - p. 64:

    An exhausted traveler
    on his way alone —
    one parasang
    from his destination.


    - p. 67:

    A little nameless flower
    blossoming alone
    in the crack of a huge mountain.


    - p. 71:

    Nobody
    can do anything
    when the sky
    means to shed rain.


    - p. 74:

    The round moon
    rises gingerly
    above the volcanic peak.


    - p. 75:

    The sun’s disk
    pale
    in the east
    as fog settles.


    - p. 84:

    Moonlight
    shining through the glass
    on the pale face
    of the young nun asleep.


    - p. 87:

    The autumn sky
    shines through the window
    on the flowers of a carpet
    A bee beats its head against the glass.


    - p. 94:

    The thick fog of dawn
    over a cotton field —
    the sound of thunder from afar.


    - p. 95:

    On the fifth day of clouds
    sunflowers
    whisper with lowered heads.


    - p. 97:

    The sun beams
    its first golden rays
    on the majestic mantle that is the spider’s web.


    p. 98:

    Snow descends
    from the black clouds
    with the whiteness of snow.


    - p. 99:

    Inside the shrine
    I thought a thousand thoughts
    and when I left
    it had snowed.


    - p. 112:

    Flying over a volcanic peak
    the dove
    composed its first epic song.


    - p. 113:

    Azure rain
    on cherry blossoms.
    Tinted blossoms
    at spring sunset.


    - p. 114:

    Soot from the candle
    blackens
    the butterfly’s colorful wing.


    - p. 120:

    Angry confrontation between two prostitutes
    leaving the church
    on Sunday afternoon.


    - p. 122:

    The earthquake
    destroyed
    even the ants’ grain silo.


    - p. 124:

    The little apple
    floats spinning
    at the base of a little waterfall.


    - p. 156:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    why the truth should be so bitter.


    - p. 157:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    why the Milky Way
    is so distant.


    - p. 158:

    The more I think
    the less I understand
    the reason
    to fear death so much.


    - p. 159:

    Will my ears ever hear again
    the sound of the nearby river’s rebellious tide
    as the snows thaw?


    - p. 163:

    The honeybee
    is amazed
    by the fragrance of an unknown flower.


    - p. 167:

    The train shrieks
    and comes to a halt.

    A butterfly sleeps on the rail.


    - p. 171:

    The scattering of a few withered autumn leaves
    in the spring breeze.


    - p. 176:

    The mirror breaks
    in a plain woman’s hand —
    a hundred streams welling up
    in the dead of a dark night.


    - p. 177:

    My shadow
    keeps me company
    this moonlit evening.


    - p. 184:

    Nobody knows
    that the little stream
    gushing from the heart of a small fountain
    is headed for the sea.


    - p. 191:

    The wind howls
    in deserted alleys —
    not a passerby,
    not even a single dog.


    - p. 192:

    The slender crescent
    scatters its pale light
    on hundreds of worn-out sickles
    on a midsummer night.


    - p. 193:

    The far end of the unpaved road
    merges with the cloudy sky —
    a few raindrops
    in the dust.


    - p. 195:

    The dark cloud
    moves forth to welcome the moon’s disk
    on a moonlit night.


    - p. 211:

    The question in the moon’s eye:
    are those who watch her today
    the same ones
    who watched her thousands of years ago?


    - p. 214:

    Songs of the rice farmers:
    some happy, some sad
    their melodies
    exactly alike.


    - p. 222:

    I stroll
    at autumn sunset
    along gold and reddish waves.


    - p. 228:

    I cry out
    across a deep valley
    expecting the echo of my voice.





    - from Abbas Kiarostami’s foreword to Gohar Homayounpour’s book Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran; p. ix-xii:

    The first thing that impressed me as I began to read this book was how the world that Gohar Homayounpour explores through the psychoanaytic lens closely resembles what I see through the lens of my camera. I caught myself smiling and then realized that I was thinking about an old Iranian saying: “Jana sokhan az zabane ma migooi.” “Dear, you speak from my heart!”


    The truth is that neither of us considers our world merely a personal space where the slightest discord might bring discontent. Neither is this world of ours a public court of law where we sit in judgment of others’ private tragedies; we are only observing the illusive world of everyday life through multiple lenses, hoping to bring some sense to it through reflection and analysis. We try our best not to be provincial observers. Our world is not limited to our neighborhood, our city, or even our motherland. “Pain is pain everywhere,” as Gohar Homayounpour says about the experience of doing psychoanalysis in Tehran and in the United States. For years I have been trying to convey the same message. My films attempt to express the human condition rather than the specific conditions or masks that localize this or the other group or person.


    I know from experience how hard it is to explore this existential condition without falling into the trap of clichés, of the status quo, and of all that we take as given and as intransigently real. It is not an easy task for anyone, and I am sure that it has not been easy for Gohar Homayounpour to break away from clichés, to leave the sanctuary of stereotypes, and give up the pleasure of adhering to simpleminded images of the other. Of course, these days, there is a good market for films and books that portray Iran and Iranians in stereotypical terms. Homayounpour would have easily gained popularity by painting an evocative and passionate orientalist caricature of Iranians that would reinforce people’s prejudices. She could have even gotten her work on the bestseller list. Resisting this temptation is undeniably a sign of nobility, dignity, sincerity, and, last but not least, evidence of an independent and original mind. It was this aspect of the writer that encouraged me to write this foreword; the brave sincerity, the original writing style, and the level of discourse that is indeed worthy of praise and admiration.

    It was particularly fascinating to me—as I’m sure it will be to other readers—to experience her world through her words, and her complicated psychoanalytic encounters through her sophisticated and unassuming narration. What is apparently the account of her own story involving her relationship with her parents in Tehran put me in touch with my own personal story involving my relationships.

    At this point, let me assure you in no uncertain terms that I would not recommend this book to those who are still searching for the “touristic attractions” of my country. Luckily for those people, the production of that kind of literature, films, paintings, and photography is prospering these days! However, Homayounpour’s book is an extraordinary work that is recommended for those who consider human pain and suffering as an existential phenomenon. Pain is beyond doubt pain everywhere; I have never heard of an Eastern or Western cancer or of a radiography that would show the nationality, religion, language, or culture of the patient. This book is a radiographic picture of the human condition in Iran, not a touristic photograph of Iranians.

    Gohar Homayounpour did not choose the easy way out, and remained faithful to the title of the book: Doing Psychoanalysis in Tehran. This is in fact the account of the experience of a psychoanalyst working in today’s Tehran, an account that continues to grow on you, gets you to know her as an analyst, surprises you, and makes you question your own presuppositions. Imagine how I was pleasantly surprised when I read that the Iranian women in the book do not narrate the injustices and the oppression that they face in our society today, but talk about the internal paradoxes, conflicts, and dualities they experience while coming face to face with their womanhood—just like any other women in the world.

    I definitely consider Gohar Homayounpour’s achievement an uncommon one. In the format of a biographical novel, and using psychoanalytic free association, she opens up windows and sheds light onto the darkness of the human soul.
    Last edited by HERO; 06-22-2015 at 11:43 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •