Kiarostami and the Aesthetics of Modern Persian Poetry
Abbas Kiarostami’s filmmaking draws on the aesthetics of modern Persian poetry, especially
the poetry of Forough Farrokhzad and Sohrab Sepehri. In his films, Kiarostami, impacted
by Sepehri and Farrokhzad’s “de-politicized” poetry, “de-experiences” our perception of
reality. Kiarostami aestheticizes everyday life by employing non-manipulative film
stylistics. In films such as Through the Olive Trees and Where Is the Friend’s
House? he uses a minimalist approach by employing amateur actors and children, depth
of field, and minimal camera work to enhance Sepehri’s philosophy of novel outlook.
Through a masterful intermingling of poetic discourse with his film sensibilities,
Kiarostami has achieved a profoundly humanist approach to cinema. Kiarostami mixes
the two genres of documentary and fiction to remind the audience of the artificiality of
constructing a factual point. To attain this goal, he sometimes uses an ironical and witty
cinematic language that is harshly self-critical and self-reflexive. Kiarostami is a poet/
philosopher who “writes” his poetic films with camera.