Where is the Friend's House ?
Winner of the Bronze Leopard at the 1989 Locarno Film Festival, this poetic tale about a young boy who must return a classmate’s schoolbook brought Abbas Kiarostami to international fame.
The first film in Kiarostami’s beloved Koker trilogy opens in a rural school in Northern Iran. Mohammad Reza (Ahmad Ahmadpour) has completed his homework in the wrong book and if he does it again will be expelled. When Ahmad (Babak Ahmadpour) accidently takes Mohammad’s book home, he’s mortified and journeys into the night to find his best friend and return the book.
A film about responsibility and duty, Kiarostami’s original inspiration came from his son Bahman, which he combined with a story a teacher had told him. Rather than set the film in Tehran, the director opted for rich, green spaces to complement his hero’s poetic journey. Kiarostami cast two brothers as the schoolfriends after finding his young lead (Babak) at a shrine where a group of men were struggling to transport a large dome.
The director recalled, ‘While the other kids were just playing, he was looking at the scene, from far away, with worried eyes. It was all in his eyes. I don’t know who said it, but to find a good actor you just must look at their eyes – you can see their soul just by looking into their eyes.’ Imbued with sensitivity and grace, Babak’s performance is one of the most memorable across Kiarostami’s cinema.
‘Sensitive and profound, Where Is the Friend’s House? is shot through with all the beauty, tension, and wonder a single day can contain’ – Criterion
Notes by Kristy Matheson – Director of Film, ACMI
See more films and season passes (all 6 films or the Koker trilogy) in our The Films of Abbas Kiarostami program
Presented by the NFSA in partnership with ACMI and the Sydney Film Festival.
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