CC: Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987)

2019/20 SEASON!

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - Thursday, October 10, 2019

Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987)

Thursday, October 10, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
Plaza Theatre
- 1133 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB
$12 General | $10 Members/Seniors/Students | $40 5-Pack Punch Pass | $99 Season Pass

Launching our 13th Season, join Calgary Cinematheque for a screening of Where is the Friend's House, one of Abbas Kiarostami's early hits.

Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987) tells the simple story of a schoolboy in Iran’s hinterlands who accidentally brings a friend’s notebook home and then tries desperately to locate the boy in a neighbouring town in order to return it.

At the end of the 1990s the American magazine Film Comment polled a coterie of film critics and voted Abbas Kiarostami the most important director of the decade. This was the culmination of what began when a number of enterprising critics and cinephiles first took special notice of Where Is the Friend’s House? The film combines elements of documentary and something close to folklore. Pensively philosophical, unusually compassionate, and formally idiosyncratic, it is a film that has imprinted itself indelibly on nearly all who have seen it.

Kiarostami had already been making films for nearly twenty years when Where is the Friend’s House? started making a splash. The bulk of his earlier output generally consisted of documentaries, often pedagogical, dealing with children, school, and other social institutions. In the years before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Kiarostami worked under the aegis of the Centre for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, a state organization founded by the shah’s wife. Films like Kiarostami’s The Traveler (1974), Amir Naderi’s The Runner (1984), and Bahram Beyzai’s Bashu, the Little Stranger (1989) were part of an emerging pattern of Iranian cinema focusing on children, which allowed them to cunningly evade censure from theocratic authorities. Whether intended by Kiarostami, Where Is the Friend’s House? is considered by many to be the first film of the unofficially labelled Koker Trilogy, and a crucial film of World Cinema.

-Written by Jason Wierzba


Filmmaker, poet, and photographer Abbas Kiarostami was born in 1940 in the Iranian capital of Tehran. He began making films in the 1970s, in the years leading up to the 1979 revolution, working primarily as a documentarian. From early on, Kiarostami’s films had a special focus on children, with whom he would develop an effective and idiosyncratic manner of working. A turn to narrative fiction films in the 1980s, first with Where is the Friend’s House? (1987), the first film in his newly restored Koker Trilogy, and then Close-Up (1990), a fiction-documentary hybrid, would be the beginning of the director’s remarkable ascent to international prominence. His focus on real people and locations, a product of his documentary background, has earned comparisons to the Italian Neorealist masters of the immediate postwar period, but his work is also suffused with elements adopted from Persian poetry and art. With our Masters: Abbas Kiarostami series, Calgary Cinematheque highlights five universally humanistic works from the filmmaker’s rich cinematic legacy.

About Calgary Cinematheque

We are a non-profit film society dedicated to presenting significant, challenging, and essential works of cinema art in Calgary. During our season, which runs from October to April, we screen films weekly, in curated programs which situate each film in a thematic and historical context. We do this because we believe cinema is an essential form of artistic, social, and political expression. Audiences should be able to engage with a wide range of cinematic expression, not only with what is commercially viable. We believe in the power of sharing these experiences with other people in a theatrical setting and we strive to cultivate a community around that experience.  

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