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My Sweet Shirin

Abbas Kiarostami
Iran 2008 / 92’

In art, unlike in science, a successful experiment requires above all the goodwill of the guinea pigs. The veteran Abbas Kiarostami invited one hundred and fourteen actresses of various ages to watch an adaptation of the twelfth-century poem Khosrow and Shirin. Among them is Juliette Binoche, who is a symbolic link between this particular screening and the universal idea of a cinema spectacle. The camera observes the women's faces, registers tiny motions of their muscles, open mouths, moist eyes, tears streaming down cheeks. The story rooted in the Persian tradition is rewritten, the border between the on-screen and private inner narratives is blurred. The creator of A Taste of Cherry (Ta'm e guilass) goes beyond the obvious statement that films not only speak about us, but we are intermediaries of the stories told. Unexpectedly he takes part in the eternal debate on the opposition between emotion and reason. Using the sophisticated, "cool" form he reaches feelings evoked by the transgressive power of cinema. His experiment is successful. The guinea pigs' condition is stable. They return to their reality enriched and more beautiful.

Michał Walkiewicz

Abbas Kiarostami

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1940. World-famous director, screenwriter and producer. Graduate of the fine arts department of Tehran University. He made his directing debut - the short film The Bread and Alley (Nan va Koutcheh) - when he was 30. Creator of almost 40 feature films, documentaries and short films, winner of the Cannes Golden Palm in 1997 for A Taste of Cherry. One of the followers of the new-wave tradition of Iranian cinema of the 1960s. A poet, graphic artist, painter and photographer, he has shown his works in many museums, including PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Loved by festival audiences all over the world, he has been present at the ENH from its very first edition.

Selected filmography:

1970 Naan va Koucheh / The Bread and Alley (short)

1972 Tajrobeh / The Experience

1982 Hamshahri / Fellow Citizen (doc.)

1987 Khane-ye doust kodjast? / Where Is the Friend's Home?

1996 Ta'm e gilass / Taste of Cherry

1999 Bād mā rā khāhad bord / The Wind Will Carry Us

2002 10 / Dah / Ten

2005 Tickets (co-direct.)

2007 Chacun son cinéma / To Each His Own Cinema (co-direct.)

2008 Shirin / My Sweet Shirin