“For decades, classical film theory pondered on the appropriate metaphor to explain the screen: a window or a frame? Was the screen a window on the world, therefore reality captured, or, a frame, reality constructed, a painting and its frame? In some ways Kiarostami is the finest dialectician of these two metaphors.”
“In the film Ten it was a conscious decision to employ only digital, because I wanted all the situations to be recorded with absolute effortlessness. In the beginning I really promoted it – people though I was getting a commission from Sony - because I believed that digital technology could maybe change the world, show us new images and that the digital revolution could bring a social revolution with it. However, after seven or eight years, I become more and more disillusioned, because I see from film students that [this medium] is approached very lightly. I have watched so many bad films shot with a digital camera that I would like to withdraw my original opinion. Many people think that cinema is just images, so they push a button and record whatever comes to mind. It would be very difficult for me to propose that this camera will save cinema. I will compare it to a knife or a scalpel in the hands of a surgeon who saves lives and in the hand of a criminal.
So when we know the capabilities of each medium, we can use the digital camera whenever necessary. I am almost kidding when I say that there maybe should exist an organization that controls the uses of digital cameras and issues licenses, similar to the ones you need for a gun. Since I don’t even own a digital stills camera yet, I am a slow learner; I am resisting. We have to take quality into consideration as well, although photography is different from cinema in that respect.”
“In his two latest films – Ten and Shirin – the thematization of the woman as a witness/spectator/bystander or outsider is, in fact, a powerful allegory of women’s – Eastern and Western – socio-cultural condition. In Ten, the taxi-driver divorcee is almost never stepping out from her cab, is listening to the stories of the female clients and is having repeated fights with her teenager son, who’s moving freely between the cab and the outer world. Here, like in Shirin, we are watching women on the other side of the mirror – in both cases, the ‘real world,’ the action/history is unfolding on the other side of the screen, or ‘off shot.’ In Ten we see fragments of it and in Shirin it is only present as off-shot sound.”
- 1. Rolando Caputo, “Five to Ten: Five Reflections on Abbas Kiarostami’s 10,” Senses of Cinema, December 2003.
- 2. Abbas Kiarostami in “Masterclass Abbas Kiarostami,” 45th Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
- 3. Hajnal Király, “Abbas Kiarostami and a New Wave of the Spectator,” Film and Media Studies 3, 2010, 133-142.