17 Aug 2007 Discussion: Abbas Kiarostami's Homework

On this edition of the podcast, J. Robert Parks and I talk about Abbas Kiarostami's Homework, an Iranian film made in 1989. The film has played recently in Toronto, New York, and San Francisco as part of an extensive Kiarostami retrospective, but it's playing in a severely edited version that's quite different from Kiarostami's original. How different? Well, that takes some explaining.

But, otherwise, the retrospective has been a rare opportunity to see some great movies, and the Pacific Film Archive has gone to great lengths to show all of Kiarostami's films, including early shorts and features that aren't subtitled and therefore require a makeshift solution for displaying English translations. I've caught up with some features that I'd only seen on video and some others that I'd never seen at all.

My favorite of the shorts is Orderly or Disorderly?, a film that begins like a children's instructional message seeking to demonstrate proper, and improper, behavior in various situations: getting a drink from the fountain, boarding the school bus, exiting a building via the stairway. But eventually the orderly structure of the film completely breaks down. "This isn't orderly," says Kiarostami's voice behind the camera, perched over a chaotic traffic intersection.

Duration: 47:33

Further Reading

J. Robert Parks, James Quandt, and Peter Matthews on Homework
Girish on Kiarostami's early shorts (with a video)
Acquarello on Kiarostami's later films