Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

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ellipsis7
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#51 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:16 am

The TA'AZIYEH in Edinburgh... It's not actually his 'latest work - I saw it in this form in 2005 in London with AK present - and it is pretty stunning....

Genesis is even earlier - this version from 2003 - the drama staged, the audience on film

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backstreetsbackalright
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#52 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:13 pm


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ellipsis7
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#53 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:40 am

Guardian review of Shirin @ Venice
There's something extraordinarily disconcerting about sitting in a darkened cinema gazing up at the screen, and seeing another cinema audience reflected back. For that is the basic material of veteran Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami's new feature: simple closeup shots of faces as they themselves watch a film. This being Kiarostami, though, everything is angled toward a specific end: all the people inspected closely are women, and the film they are watching is the story of Khosrow and Shirin, a semi-mythic Persian romance of female self-sacrifice. Three or four times Shirin's travails reduce the entire audience to floods of tears; at other points, the biting of lips, fiddling with headscarves, and expressions of rapt attention tell a sub-verbal narrative of some power.

Does the device work? For the first half of the film, Kiarostami's women cast a genuine spell: who are these people? Are they free to enjoy what they see? But as the fixed shot grinds on, it ends up exerting a strain on the viewer. The truth is that Kiarostami's film-making has become more and more pared down over the years, and he has in recent times acted more like an installation artist than a feature film-maker. Shirin might be happier sitting on a video monitor in the Pompidou centre on 24-hour loop.

But that may be doing this film a disservice. The powerful fable takes up much of the slack, and the visuals end up engendering otherwise unnoticeable subtleties, such as the threatening figures on seats in the rows behind. And if one of the women that Kiarostami dwells on bears an uncanny resemblance to Juliette Binoche ... well, that's because she is Juliette Binoche. The oddest detail of an odd, intriguing film. -- Andrew Pulver
Screen Daily also
Shirin
Dan Fainaru in Venice
29 Aug 2008 12:41

Dir: Abbas Kiarostami. Iran. 2008. 92mins.

Given the respect he enjoys as a modern auteur, Abbas Kiarostami's latest film is unlikely to be ignored but this outlandish work suggests that Kiarostami has abandoned narrative cinema for now, prefering instead to explore the more experimental extremes of cinematic language. Here it's watching the audience watch. Never intended as a commercial venture, this is a thought-provoking piece but one that's unlikely to make it into many cinemas.

Kiariostami's film consists of a series of portraits of women watching a filmed version of 12th century poem Shirin And Khosrow about the Queen of Armenia, the King of Persia and his love rival Farhad the sculptor. This never appears on camera; Kiarostami only shows the faces of 112 Iranian women, their hair covered by chadors, and Juliette Binoche who happened to be there when the film was shot and joined in. They listen, they react and all that is revealed on screen is one close-up after another, occasionally a two shot or three shot.

Ninety minutes of this may seem excessive even to the director's most faithful fans but there are some lovely Kiarostami touches here too - the beautiful, liquid eyes of the women, many of whom are easily identifiable as actors from other Iranian films, the composure of their expression, the notion that we see it is not just a face but a window to a soul.

However, this is not a documentary and the actresses are in fact not watching a film but staring at a blank screen and only hearing the poem (Kiarostami shot the entire film in his living room using three chairs as his entire set). Their gestures, expressions, frowns and looks betray the same degree of embarrassment anyone experiences when they know they are being watched. That's just one of the project's many perversities and one to reflect on.
These 2 reviewers have obviously not seen AK's TA'AZIYEH, from which SHIRIN is a logical progression of ideas (as well as from FIVE)...

Variety does better
Shirin
"Shirin" offers a feast for the bedazzled eye and a crash course in narrative obsession for the benumbed mind.
Though his name continues to pop up regularly as writer or story man on a good chunk of Iranian cinema, Abbas Kiarostami himself has not filmed anything even vaguely commercial since 2002's "Ten." The maestro has disappeared into making more abstract, experimental installations, theater pieces and films ("Five"). His latest, "Shirin," wherein 112 Iranian actresses and Juliette Binoche are shot watching a 12th-century Persian play, with the play's performance itself kept entirely offscreen, is unlikely to pack 'em in. Yet "Shirin" offers a feast for the bedazzled eye and a crash course in narrative obsession for the benumbed mind.
"Shirin" takes the film-the-audience conceit of "Where Is My Romeo?," Kiarostami's three-minute segment of the 2007 anthology "To Each His Own Cinema," and expands it into a 92-minute film. Admittedly, the viewership for such a self-reflective exercise will prove smaller than that for Kiarostami's more mainstream oeuvre. But in contrast with the wind and water in his minimalist "Five," the women's faces here tell a compelling story, indirectly implying or reconstructing the unseen narrative.

The play, told in telescoping flashbacks, concerns a love triangle between an Iranian king, an Armenian queen and an Iranian sculptor. Yet the offscreen spectacle remains a mystery since, like the perversely elaborate, stagebound Busby Berkeley numbers in "Footlight Parade," Kiarostami's production is improbably rich in sound effects that hardly seem theater-friendly: Crows caw, full orchestras play, armies clash, brooks babble, and noble steeds gallop, neigh and whinny.

Meanwhile the women, each individually framed by an immobile camera against empty seats or with other women (and an occasional man) partly visible in the soft-focus background, form a brilliantly composed, sensually vibrant visual text. All the Sturm und Drang of the offscreen pageantry functions as mere pretext for the richness of emotions that flit across their watching faces. Kiarostami fabricates a fascinating tension between film narrative and film imagery, the spectators' closeups simultaneously reading as a ghostly reflection of theatrical artifice and as the story itself.

In reality, the different actresses were shot facing an abstract, blank space with three dots and told to imagine an incident or movie. Later, dialogue and sound effects were crafted and the whole audiovisual interrelationship painstakingly edited together after the fact.

Like "Ten," "Shirin" comes across as inescapably feminist, suggesting Kiarostami's personal stake in employing Iranian actresses whose talents he has never before tapped. The film also tips toward feminism in that the younger, prettier faces are not necessarily the ones that capture the eye. Juliette Binoche, bare of makeup and draped in a drab veil, appears almost more Iranian than the Iranians.

HD credits are aces.
While Hollywood Reporter finally gets the artistic provenance
Shirin
Bottom Line: Difficult but fascinating esthete's treat featuring 113 of Iran's best actresses
By Deborah Young
Aug 28, 2008

Venue: Venice Film Festival, Out of Competition

VENICE -- A tough yet fascinating watch once you get into it, "Shirin" marks another interesting twist in the eclectic artistic career of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. This feature-length film is simply a parade of close-ups of 113 Iranian actresses who are watching a film which we never see. Some viewers will panic when they realize there's never going to be a reverse shot, while others will succumb to a hypnotic series of beautiful faces and a charming fairy tale read on the soundtrack.

This deceptively simple film is much closer to Kiarostami's experimental theater play "Taize" than to such features as "A Taste of Cherry" and "The Wind Will Carry Us." In "Taize," a traditional religious play is performed in costume while screens show films of an Iranian audience's emotional involvement with the story. Here the narration is taken from an 800-year-old Persian love story about Shirin, the princess of Armenia, and Khosrow, the prince of Persia. On screen, however, we see only the reactions of a female "audience" watching a film that only exists in the mind of the viewer.

In fact, Kiarostami has stated that the actresses are staring at three dots on a sheet of white cardboard off-screen, while imagining their own love stories; he chose the Shirin narration only later, after he finished filming. It is an effective trick, in any case, because the illusion that the women are watching a film is quite strong.

The camera delves deeply into the expressive, sometimes teary eyes of the silent actresses, who include major Iranian stars like Hedieh Tehrani (also credited as casting director), Leila Hatami and Niki Karimi, plus French actress Juliette Binoche, recognizable even in a headscarf and without makeup. Everyone is democratically given equal screen time.

Delightfully full of passionate trysts in perfumed gardens, the story of Shirin and Khosrow is probably unfilmable in today's Iran. The melodramatic tale of star-crossed love is still engrossing, even though nonstop subtitles are required for foreign audiences. Still, the narration is an essential part of the movie, creating a palpable tension between the image and the soundtrack. One's focus tends to shift back and forth between word and image in a very noticeable way.

The story is skillfully read between the tragic and kitsch by a cast of narrators lead by Manoucher Esmaieli and is accompanied by a historical "film score" by Morteza Hananeh and Hossein Dehlavi.

Production company: Abbas Kiarostami Prods. Cast: Hedieh Tehrani, Niki Karimi, Taraneh Alidousti, Fatemeh Motamedarya, Juliette Binoche, Leila Hatami, Golshifteh Farahani. Director: Abbas Kiarostami. Screenwriters: Mohammad Rahmanian, based on the story "Khosrow and Shirin" by Farrideh Golbou. Executive producers: Hamideh Razavi. Producer: Abbas Kiarostami. Director of photography: Gelareh Kiazand. Music: Morteza Hananeh, Hossein Dehlavi. Editor: Abbas Kiarostami, Arash Sadeghi. Sales Agent: Abbas Kiarostami Prod., Tehran. 92 minutes.

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jsteffe
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#54 Post by jsteffe » Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:59 pm

What a fascinating idea for a film! Nezami's Khosrow and Shirin (12th century) is one of the masterpieces of Persian literature, and it's a legend most people in Iran would be roughly familiar with. It's like filming an audience watching Othello or the legend of King Arthur.

Nezami (or Nizami) was from Ganja, which is part of present-day Azerbaijan. Everyone in Iran and the Islamic world in general also knows the story of Layla and Majnun (think Romeo and Juliet), and Nezami's narrative poem is the most famous version of that as well. Here's the book by Faridah Gulbu that was apparently credited in the film. Can anyone read Persian?

UPDATE: I had a Persian friend of mine look at the title, and Faridah Gulbu's book is indeed "a story based on the didactic poem (manzumah) of Nizami Ganjavi."

Khosrow II (or Khosrow Parviz, "the Victorious"), was a real king during the Sassanian era. His wife Shirin was a Christian, possibly of Armenian origin as the review above suggests. He was Zoroastrian, his rule ending less than thirty years before Iran converted to Islam, and he was known for his extravagance. Among other things, he commissioned a huge carpet known as "The Spring of Khosrow" for the palace at Ctesiphon, outside Baghdad in present-day Iraq. The carpet was decorated with gold, silk and jewels to suggest flowers in a garden. Sadly, the carpet was later cut to pieces when the kingdom fell to Islamic forces and no fragment survives at all. I always thought that Khosrow and Shirin would make a great subject for a film, but what a way to do it!

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ellipsis7
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#55 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:37 pm

Thanks for the references, jsteffe - indeed fascinating also...

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ellipsis7
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#56 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:16 am

BTW 'Where is my Romeo?' AK's 3 minute film from the Cannes @ 60 omnibus pic Chacun son cinéma/To Each His Own Cinema can be watched here on YouTube

alfons416
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#57 Post by alfons416 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:51 am

Shirin is comming on Sept 28th on R2UK DVD from BFI.

but did ever the dvds:
Devoirs du soir/ Homework (1989) + Deux solutions pour un problème/ Two Solutions for One Problem (1975)
Le Costume de mariage/ A Suit for Wedding (1976) + Expérience/ The Experience (1973)

get released? if not, why?

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#58 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:40 pm

alfons416 wrote:Shirin is comming on Sept 28th on R2UK DVD from BFI.

but did ever the dvds:
Devoirs du soir/ Homework (1989) + Deux solutions pour un problème/ Two Solutions for One Problem (1975)
Le Costume de mariage/ A Suit for Wedding (1976) + Expérience/ The Experience (1973)

get released? if not, why?
Yes, looking forward very much to SHIRIN from BFI... LE COSTUME DE MARIAGE/EXPERIENCE is due from Les Films du Paradoxe on 20th Sept, but nothing showing yet on amazon.fr or alapage.com, so may have been put back again, although could still show as the August holidays are only now coming to an end... DEVOIRS DU SOIR is not scheduled for 2009...

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Zazou dans le Metro
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#59 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:09 pm

ellipsis7 wrote: LE COSTUME DE MARIAGE/EXPERIENCE is due from Les Films du Paradoxe on 20th Sept, but nothing showing yet on amazon.fr or alapage.com, so may have been put back again, although could still show as the August holidays are only now coming to an end... DEVOIRS DU SOIR is not scheduled for 2009...
Hey Sis. Did you get this info direct from FdP? It doesn't figure in their 2009 catalogue and this is one I'd really like to get hold of.

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#60 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:15 pm

Hi Zazou - yes I got that date from FdP directly (it was first March, then July, then this date)... Is also actually in their 2009 catalogue online...

Image

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Zazou dans le Metro
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#61 Post by Zazou dans le Metro » Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:25 pm

ellipsis7 wrote:Hi Zazou - yes I got that date from FdP directly (it was first March, then July, then this date)... Is also actually in their 2009 catalogue online...
Great. Thanks. I must have an earlier incarnation of the catalogue.

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#62 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:24 am

FdP just confirmed to me it's coming on 20th September definitely...

(SHIRIN now 26th October from BFI)

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denti alligator
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#63 Post by denti alligator » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:57 am

ellipsis7 wrote: (SHIRIN now 26th October from BFI)
Blu-ray, too?

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#64 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:29 am

denti alligator wrote:
ellipsis7 wrote: (SHIRIN now 26th October from BFI)
Blu-ray, too?
Only a DVD is showing @ Moviemail, so right now it looks like no Blu-ray (I would love to be corrected)....

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#65 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:08 am

I have the FdP disc of LE COSTUME DE MARIAGE & EXPERIENCE double bill now, and initial impression says it looks good, much like the others in their Kiarostami series... It's fascinating to watch these rarely seen AK films, EXPERIENCE weaves an especially engaging audio tapestry, virtually wordless with striking visuals and narrative dwelling on 'temps mort', and of course these films are set in pre-revolutionary Iran, both made under the aegis of the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults... I ordered it directly from FdP, faxing my credit card details to their Boutique DVD, and it's also now showing as available from amazon.fr from 20th October here... The 1975 short TWO SOLUTIONS TO ONE PROBLEM is included as a bonus extra (this was originally to be an extra on the postulated DEVOIRS DU SOIR/HOMEWORK disc)...

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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#66 Post by zone_resident » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:29 pm

Le Costume de Mariage & Experience is now "in stock" at amazon.fr

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ellipsis7
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#67 Post by ellipsis7 » Sun May 23, 2010 7:30 am

SHIRIN is coming to R1 on Aug 24th...

albucat
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#68 Post by albucat » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:06 pm

Not DVDs, but Janus just announced this full retrospective.

Janus Films presents a touring retrospective spanning the master’s career, including new restorations undertaken by the Criterion Collection and mk2 with the invaluable contribution of Ahmad Kiarostami. Additional touring dates to come.

“Abbas Kiarostami is one of the true poets of cinema, but his work has not always been easily accessible,” said Peter Becker, President of the Criterion Collection/Janus Films. “We couldn’t be prouder to be working with his son Ahmad and our partners at MK2 on these new restorations to reveal the full scope of his vision, from his wonderful, rarely-screened early children's films to the quietly majestic triumph of The Koker Trilogy."

Full retrospective includes:

The Koker Trilogy
WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE?
AND LIFE GOES ON
THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES

Feature Films
THE EXPERIENCE
THE TRAVELER
A WEDDING SUIT
CASE NO. 1, CASE NO. 2
FELLOW CITIZEN
FIRST GRADERS
HOMEWORK
CLOSE-UP
TASTE OF CHERRY
SHIRIN
24 FRAMES

Children's Shorts
THE BREAD AND ALLEY
BREAKTIME
SO CAN I
TWO SOLUTIONS FOR ONE PROBLEM
THE COLORS
HOW TO MAKE USE OF LEISURE TIME
TRIBUTE TO TEACHERS
SOLUTION
TOOTHACHE
ORDERLY OR DISORDERLY
THE CHORUS



I want to buy a Bergman-style set of these so badly, regardless of the conspicuous absences.

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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#69 Post by yoloswegmaster » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:16 pm

albucat wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:06 pm
Not DVDs, but Janus just announced this full retrospective.

Janus Films presents a touring retrospective spanning the master’s career, including new restorations undertaken by the Criterion Collection and mk2 with the invaluable contribution of Ahmad Kiarostami. Additional touring dates to come.

“Abbas Kiarostami is one of the true poets of cinema, but his work has not always been easily accessible,” said Peter Becker, President of the Criterion Collection/Janus Films. “We couldn’t be prouder to be working with his son Ahmad and our partners at MK2 on these new restorations to reveal the full scope of his vision, from his wonderful, rarely-screened early children's films to the quietly majestic triumph of The Koker Trilogy."

Full retrospective includes:

The Koker Trilogy
WHERE IS THE FRIEND'S HOUSE?
AND LIFE GOES ON
THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES

Feature Films
THE EXPERIENCE
THE TRAVELER
A WEDDING SUIT
CASE NO. 1, CASE NO. 2
FELLOW CITIZEN
FIRST GRADERS
HOMEWORK
CLOSE-UP
TASTE OF CHERRY
SHIRIN
24 FRAMES

Children's Shorts
THE BREAD AND ALLEY
BREAKTIME
SO CAN I
TWO SOLUTIONS FOR ONE PROBLEM
THE COLORS
HOW TO MAKE USE OF LEISURE TIME
TRIBUTE TO TEACHERS
SOLUTION
TOOTHACHE
ORDERLY OR DISORDERLY
THE CHORUS



I want to buy a Bergman-style set of these so badly, regardless of the conspicuous absences.
This is great news as I can finally see the Koker trilogy, but I noticed that 'Ten' isn't in the line-up. I swear they had it on Filmstruck with a Janus logo.

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zedz
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#70 Post by zedz » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:44 pm

I get that it says "full retrospective includes", but there are a lot of titles missing from the list, many of them pretty major (The Wind Will Carry Us, Ten, Five Dedicated to Ozu, Certified Copy, Like Someone in Love). Presumably Janus have rights to at least some of these (Criterion has released them on BluRay, after all), but as far as I'm aware, The Wind Will Carry Us is the only one of those currently in print from another US label.

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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#71 Post by dda1996a » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:32 pm

Would've said some are missing because Criterion put them out but Close-Up is there...

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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#72 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:05 pm

zedz wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:44 pm
I get that it says "full retrospective includes", but there are a lot of titles missing from the list, many of them pretty major (The Wind Will Carry Us, Ten, Five Dedicated to Ozu, Certified Copy, Like Someone in Love). Presumably Janus have rights to at least some of these (Criterion has released them on BluRay, after all), but as far as I'm aware, The Wind Will Carry Us is the only one of those currently in print from another US label.
Criterion licensed Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love from IFC, who presumably retain the theatrical rights. Janus could have Ten and Five Dedicated to Ozu, but they might not have any screenable materials for them—my guess is those films (like the also-missing ABC Africa and 10 on Ten) were left out of MK2's restoration efforts because of their lo-fi DV origins.

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dwk
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#73 Post by dwk » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:51 pm

Hopefully, if Criterion really is planning a big box set, they will be able to sublicense The Wind Will Carry Us from Cohen.

yoloswegmaster
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#74 Post by yoloswegmaster » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:08 pm

I've tried looking for news of this but I can't find a single thing. Does anyone have a link to the announcement?

yoloswegmaster
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Re: Abbas Kiarostami on DVD

#75 Post by yoloswegmaster » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:30 pm

Nevermind, just found it on twitter.

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