He reportedly died in Paris, where he had gone for cancer treatment last week after undergoing surgery in Iran earlier this year, according to an Iranian news agency.
Kiarostami stayed in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and made more than 40 films, including documentaries. He won the Palme D’Or, the top prize at Cannes, with his 1997 film Taste of Cherry. He was the only Iranian to ever win the Palme D’Or.
Kiarostami was hugely influential in world cinema. Jean-Luc Godard is reputed to have said: “Film begins with DW Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami.”
His film Ten was also nominated for a Palme D’Or. Shot on two digital cameras attached to a car, it followed a woman driving around Tehran with various passengers and explored social issues around the role of women. In 2005 he teamed up with the British director Ken Loach and the Italian filmmaker Ermanno Olmo to make a three-part film called Tickets.
I had the pleasure of meeting him during my childhood, while he was visiting Ireland (appearing in the documentary Abbas Kiarostami: The Art of Living). The warmth I remember him displaying in person was reflected very clearly in his films. He is, for all cinema lovers, an enormous loss.