Watch This: Abbas Kiarostami’s First Short Film

The late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (born on June 22, 1940) was a giant of Cinema. His feature films, which played in festivals around the world and often had substantial arthouse runs in the the film capitals of the world, helped to give Iran a place at the table in terms of contemporary artistic expression. Interestingly, his first films were shorts made as part of his day job for the government.

For twenty years, Kiarostami worked for Iran’s Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. He made films that were intended to help kids develop the coordination of their values, judgment and actions. The situations depicted in the films could be quite simple – seemingly trivial even, until we actually consider the thought processes being depicted, which are often pretty complex – especially for the youthful target audience.

For example, in 1975’s TWO SOLUTIONS FOR THE SAME PROBLEM, two boys have an argument over a book, tearing it in the process. We are shown two possible outcomes of the situation. In one, the two have a violent fight, and in the second, the two boys work together to repair the binding.

In the following short film, THE BREAD AND ALLEY (1970), Kiarostami’s first as a director, a boy returning home from the bakery with bread is menaced by a dog in an alley. He discovers a solution – but one that cannot be used by the next boy confronted with the problem of the dog.


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