Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered condolences over the death of the country’s award-winning film director Abbas Kiarostami, hailing his works as valuable contributions to promotion of “peace” and “friendship” in the world.
“Abbas Kiarostami’s disinct and profound view of life and his inviting humans to peace and friendship will be (regarded as) a lasting achievement in the 7th Art (cinema),” President Rouhani said in a message posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
Kiarostami passed away at the age 76 in a hospital in Paris after months of battling gastrointestinal cancer. The award-winning scholar succumbed to a stroke in Paris on Monday, a few days after leaving Tehran.
Also on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Iran has lost a towering figure in international cinema. May the Almighty receive him in His Infinite Mercy. Rest in peace ostad (master).”
Late on Monday, Iranian Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani confirmed the director’s death, saying that Iran’s embassy is taking necessary consular measures to repatriate Kiarostami’s body to his homeland.
Kiarostami made more than 40 films in Iran, including documentaries. He won the Palme D’Or, the top prize at Cannes, with his 1997 film Taste of Cherry.
But he shot his last two films outside the country.
Kiarostami was hugely influential in world cinema. The French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard is reputed to have said, “Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.”
He was the only Iranian to ever win the Palme D’Or.
Taste of Cherry was a minimalist film about a man looking for someone to bury him after his suicide. It examined Iranian civic and religious attitudes of the time.
In 2005 he teamed up with the British director Ken Loach and the Italian filmmaker Ermanno Olmo to make a three-part film called Tickets.
US director Martin Scorsese said Kiarostami was “a very special human being: quiet, elegant, modest, articulate and quite observant.
“He was a true gentleman and, truly, one of our great artists.”
The New York cinema magazine The Film Stage tweeted that “the world may have lost its greatest filmmaker”.
The British Film Institute tweeted that it was “saddened” at the news, while the Telegraph’s film critic Robbie Collin called him a “miracle-worker disguised as a close-up magician”.