Off the Shelves: Abbas Kiarostami's Press Kits
By Jason Sanders, BAMPFA Research Associate
Off the Shelves: Treasures from BAMPFA’s Film Library & Study Center is a new feature designed to highlight some of the rare treasures of BAMPFA’s Film Library & Study Center.
Coinciding with the launch of our five-month film retrospective Abbas Kiarostami: Life as Art, this post examines the simple yet beautiful graphics from the early press kits for Kiarostami’s films, as well as some examples from his later works.
Born in 1940, Kiarostami joined Iran’s Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (aka Kanoon) in 1968, where he helped establish a filmmaking department. BAMPFA has two very rare booklets published by Kanoon in its earliest days, including this fancifully designed 1970 edition.
Bread and Alley
This 1970 edition includes Kiarostami’s first film, Bread and Alley (a.k.a. Bread and A Street). These pages mark the first time a Kiarostami film is ever described in print.
Unassuming, almost charcoal-like sketches form the spare yet evocative graphics of future Kiarostami press kits, as designed by the Farabi Cinema Foundation, the main post-Revolution promoter of Iranian cinema to the outside world. (For a fascinating look at Farabi’s complicated role as protector, hinderer, cultivator, and censor of Iranian film culture, see Shiva Rahbaran’s 2016 book Iranian Cinema Uncensored, which features interviews with Kiarostami, other filmmakers, and Farabi’s former leader, Mohammad Beheshti). BAMPFA has several Farabi press kits in its collection, including this one for Kiarostami’s next short, 1972’s Breaktime.
See the full document for Breaktime
Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love
Handled by global companies such as MK2 Productions or Celluloid Dreams, the press kits for Kiarostami’s late-career works were far glossier, in-depth, and more well-financed than those for his Iranian productions, boasting glossy stills, interviews with stars, and behind-the-scenes snapshots. Here are two samples, both drawn from our collection: Certified Copy, featuring an interview with Juliette Binoche on Kiarostami, and Like Someone in Love, with the thoughts of critic / cineaste / programmer Pierre Rissient.
See the full document for Certified Copy
See the full document for Like Someone in Love
BFI: Abbas Kiarostami: Visions of the Artists
A final piece from the BAMPFA collection is this 38-page booklet from the BFI, Abbas Kiarostami: Visions of the Artists. Critical essays, thoughts from the director, and shots of his photography make this an essential piece, and a wonderful companion to our series.
See the full document