little boy crouching down on ground as if getting ready to hopalr

Kiarostami Short Films

When I was working for the Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults [Kanoon], there was no boss to put pressure on us to make a certain type of film. But we noticed that most films then weren’t suitable for children, so we decided to make educational films about the social relationships of children. I found a Canadian film catalog containing descriptions of over fourteen hundred educational films, including some by Norman McLaren, and I used that as a starting point for thinking up ideas for films of my own. – Abbas Kiarostami

Kiarostami’s early educational films convey practical knowledge to children with lovely, simply framed camerawork, amusing animations, deadpan comedy and unpredictable—sometimes mildly audacious—asides. Amid the joyfully graphic patterns, repetitions and funny contrasts, Kiarostami includes earnest moral messages for the young ones, urging respectfulness, kindness and good hygiene. Even in this youth-oriented early work, the filmmaker gently pushes certain edges—maintaining a soundtrack of a crying child in the background while the dentist explains tooth decay in Toothache, or featuring the thankless aspects of the teaching profession as well as the rewards in Tribute to Teachers.

PROGRAM

  • So Can I (Man ham mitounam)

    Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
    Iran, 1975, DCP, color, 4 min.
    Persian with English subtitles.
    two young boys, one in front of the other, sitting at desks in a classroom
  • The Colors (Rangha)

    Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
    Iran, 1976, DCP, color, 16 min.
    Persian with English subtitles.
    light hitting a crystal and splitting into many colors
  • Tribute to Teachers (Bozorgdasht-e mo’allem)

    Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
    Iran, 1977, DCP, color, 20 min.
    Persian with English subtitles.
    female teacher with headscarf pointing to a board with pictures and words
  • How to Make Use of Leisure Time: Painting (Az oghat-e faraghat-e khod chegouneh estefadeh konim: Rang-zanie)

    Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
    Iran, 1977, DCP, color, 7 min.
    Persian with English subtitles.
    an array of paint brushes, large and small, lined up
  • Toothache (Dandan dard)

    Directed by Abbas Kiarostami.
    Iran, 1980, DCP, color, 25 min.
    Persian with English subtitles.
    unhappy young boy with a cloth wrapped around his head and face because of a toothache

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Abbas Kiarostami, A Cinema of Participation

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