Where is my friend’s house? (1987) was the film that launched the Iranian filmmaker to the recognition of the international press and critics. The prolific director was the director of such films as Foreground (1990), The taste of cherries (1997) the Copy Fithe (2010). In this case, Where is my friend’s house? is considered one of the 100 Best Foreign Language Films of All History. Why is it relevant? What were your influences? Here we will tell you.
Lorcano as a consecration of the Iranian New Wave.
Kiarostami achieved recognition from the Lorcano International Festival by winning the Bronze Leopard, a Special Mention from the FIPRECI and a Special Mention from the Ecumenical Jury. While the Iranian New Wave of the 1960s achieved its success by developing its domestic industry, few were the accolades at international festivals. One of the few antecedents is the case of Sohrab Shahid Saless, when he was awarded the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlinale in 1974. Lorcano was the beginning to reach awards such as the Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1997 and in Venice two years later, where he triumphed with the Special Jury Prize, FIPRESI Prize and CinemAvvenire.
The tradition of concealment and neorealism as influence.
Where is my friend’s house? it is the portrait of the adult world through the perspective of childhood. The story takes us to the rural Iran of little Ahmed, who in his mistake by taking his homework notebook (an important object for the development of the plot), tries to give it back to his schoolmate Mohamed. The use of non-professional actors and natural settings are some characteristics that are recognized as a direct influence of the film by Italian neorealism. And it is not a coincidence when understanding that both the Iranian New Wave and neorealism precede warlike stages that influenced the perception of their filmmakers in making movies.
Instead of traditional poetic concealment, it was the philosophical background of the movement, the cinema as what is seen and what is not. The title of the film makes a clear reference to the poem Direction of Sohrab Sepehr, one of the most important poets of Iran. Both the works of the poet and painter from Theran and Kiarostami, try within the artistic tradition of his country, seek a new perspective within the simple and abstract.
Naturalism on the set.
His way of reducing all falsehood in the filming, as well as the non-direct interference to the actors, are the keys to Kiarostami. This non-interference on set led to the showing of shots where the truth permeates the screen. The filmmaker dealt with actors from the town of Koker, the place that gave its name to the entire trilogy: Where is my friend’s house?, And life goes on and Through the olive trees.
Years later in a commemorative display of the film, Kiarostami confessed not knowing how to work with children. But seeing such naturalness in the children’s performance, he concluded that they were not really acting. We then assume that the director’s naturalistic style is closely linked to what was done on the set.
Where is my friend’s house? is one of the great movies about childhood and friendship. This movie and others are in the special section at MUBI dedicated to one of the most important directors in the history of cinema.