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Abbas Kiarostami Honored by Writers Guild of America West

Variety logo Variety 1/23/2017 Dave McNary
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The Writers Guild of America West has selected the late Iranian screenwriter-director Abbas Kiarostami as the recipient of the Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement.

The filmmaker, who died last July, will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Feb. 19. His son, Ahmad Kiarostami, will accept the  award on his father’s behalf.

“Abbas Kiarostami was, as Martin Scorsese put it, ‘one of those rare artists with a special knowledge of the world,'” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman. “As a founding father of the New Iranian Cinema, Kiarostami navigated tricky political and cultural terrains with courage and grace. Yet the impact of his work – and his life – is felt far outside the borders of his native land. Kiarostami’s films were fiction, were documentary, were transcendent. He expanded cinematic narrative for all of us, even as he raised the rhythms of ordinary life to the level of high art.”

His 1997 film “Taste of Cherry” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He often used a non-narrative and experimental approach.

He first made an impression outside his home country with the Koker trilogy including “Where is the Friend’s Home?,” “Life, and Nothing More…” and “Through the Olive Trees.” “Taste of Cherry” shared the Cannes prize with Shohei Imamura’s “The Eel.”

He made “Certified Copy” in Italy, starring Juliette Binoche, who won best actress at Cannes for her role. His last full-length feature, 2012’s “Like Someone in Love,” was made in Japan and screened in official competition in Cannes.

Previous Jean Renoir Award honorees include Italian screenwriters Suso D’Amico (2009) and Tonino Guerra (2011), Japanese filmmakers Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryûzô Kikushima, and Hideo Oguni (2013), and Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (2015).

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