OBITUARIES

We Lost Two Great Filmmakers - Michael Cimino & Abbas Kiarostami

by
July 5, 2016

Michael Cimino / Abbas Kiarostami

This is a rough week for cinema. Over the weekend, two outstanding, profound filmmakers passed away - American filmmaker Michael Cimino, and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Both of them have made a number of fantastic films that have rightfully earned a place in cinema history, and many cinephiles are feeling the loss of these two great storytellers. Cimino died on July 2nd at the age of 77 at his home in Los Angeles (via CNN). Kiarostami died on July 4th at the age of 76 of cancer at his home in Paris, France (via BBC). Both are being remembered in beautiful, heartfelt ways on social media (a few samples included below) and you can remember them as well by watching their films. Especially any of them you haven't seen.

Here are just a few of the warm remembrances for both filmmakers posted to Twitter since their passing:

Michael Cimino was born in New York City in 1939. He originally studied architecture and dramatic arts and filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts. His big break came when Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, released in 1974. He later went on to direct the Vietnam War drama The Deer Hunter, which won Best Picture (and four other Oscars) in 1979, plus Heaven's Gate, Year of the Dragon, The Sicilian, Desperate Hours and his last film was The Sunchaser in 1996, with Woody Harrelson. In a 2010 interview in Vanity Fair, Cimino stated: "Nobody lives without making mistakes… I never second-guess myself. You can’t look back. I don’t believe in defeat. Everybody has bumps, but as Count Basie said, 'It's not how you handle the hills, it's how you handle the valleys.'" Indeed.

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. Kiarostami remained in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and made more than 40 films, including documentaries. He won the Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 with the film Taste of Cherry, and won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1999 with the film The Wind Will Carry Us. While his entire filmography is impressive and worth exploring, he gained the most international acclaim with his two most recent films, Certified Copy (2010) and Like Someone in Love (2012), which were both made outside of Iran. Jean-Luc Godard apparently once said: "Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." See a photo of Kiarostami with Akira Kurosawa here.

These two filmmakers will be remembered fondly by their work and their storytelling spirit. Rest in peace.

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