A World-Cinema Master Gives the World One Last Look

With 24 Frames, the film that would become his last, Abbas Kiarostami made one of the most conceptually daring—and painstaking—works of his career. Over the course of several years, the Iranian filmmaker hunkered down with visual effects supervisor Ali Kamali to create a singular meditation on how we perceive and record the world around us: working with paintings, photographs, and imagined scenes, many of them depicting landscapes and wildlife, Kiarostami and Kamali undertook to digitally animate each still image into a minimalist, four-and-a-half-minute movie of its own. At the time of director’s death in 2016, work on the intimate and elegiac film—a collection of twenty-four of these quietly revelatory vignettes—was mostly, though not entirely, complete. In the above clip, taken from a supplement on our new edition of 24 Frames, Kiarostami’s oldest son, Ahmad Kiarostami, talks about his father’s immersion in the project, as well as his own eventual role in helping complete it. As he describes here, the younger Kiarostami oversaw such finishing touches as culling down the thirty completed frames to the requisite twenty-four—from the beginning of the project, the number was central to its conception—and designing the sound based on instructions left behind by his father.

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