WHEN KUROSAWA MET KIAROSTAMI
Akira Kurosawa had written a favorable commentary in the publicity leaflet that accompanies the public screening in Tokyo of Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home?, And Life Goes On:
“I believe the films of Iranian filmmaker Kiarostami are extraordinary. Words cannot relate my feelings. I suggest you his films; and then you will see what I mean. Satyajit Ray passed away and I got very upset. But having watched Kiarostami’s films, I thank god because now we have a good substitute for him. Recently, in the face of the decline of cinema in developed countries, nations with little experience in the area of filmmaking have produced valuable works; and I have to think about this more seriously after seeing Kiarostami’s films.”
An unprecedented comment by Kurosawa who seldom talks about other director’s films. In fact, during the past 43 years he has only written about the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, John Cassavetes, Ray and now Kiarostami.
Late in September 1993, Abbas Kiarostami held a two and a half hour long meeting with Akira Kurosawa in Tokyo.
Kurosawa: I have to say that I honestly enjoyed watching your films. They include appreciation for your working style. How do you work with children, in particular? They do not feel at home in my films and keep watching me in a discreet way.
Kiarostami: Maybe that’s because you are Kurosawa. The children that work for me hardly know me. During the actual filming I try to pretend that I’m not the governor. Usually I ask the crew to judge about their acting. Of course, every needs a special trick, sometimes it is another story.
Kurosawa: This is the cinema that must be supported and taken seriously. My children and grandchildren never see American films. They have their own boycotting system which rules out violent films. I wish this humanistic cinema could stand against all vulgarity.I’m sure good films are being made everywhere. But filmmaking in Europe and the States is going backwards while good films are being made in Asia and finding their way to International film festivals. The global screen is not for the films of only one country. Films make their viewers familiar with the cultural settings of their country of origins. If they are made according to a national culture then they will be welcomed abroad. My grandchildren and I made ourselves familiar with Iran and her people with your films. […]
Both of the filmmakers agree that those who look for flaws in films deprives themselves the joy watching a film.
Kurosawa: My painting teacher used to tell me to look at the world with a half closed eye. We have to see everything altogether, it is only then that we will be able to see the truth [x]