Among the many filmmakers mourning Abbas Kiarostami is Martin Scorsese, who over the weekend delivered a 12-minute remembrance at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. Scorsese, who’s long stood out as one of Hollywood’s most eclectic, devoted cinephiles, was a friend of the revered Iranian filmmaker for more than a decade and said during his remarks that he was “still prepping for the meeting next year” that the two planned to have. Kiarostami died on July 4 at the age of 76.
Scorsese recalls first meeting Kiarostami at the Cannes Film Festival while both serving on the Cinéfondation jury, which he was “a little cautious” for, as the icon of Iranian cinema’s reputation preceded him. Once meeting him, Scorsese found Kiarostami to be “elegant, eloquent, very quiet, very careful with his words — always thoughtful and always studying everything.”
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“I found that I wanted to spend time with the people in these films,” Scorsese says of watching movies like “Through the Olive Trees,” “The Wind Will Carry Us” and especially “Close-Up.” “It was like a cleansing to spend time with the spirit of those films, those worlds — the spirit of the artistry, which makes me see people in the world in a new, refreshing and hopeful way.” Watch the full speech below, which first made the rounds via The Film Stage.