Abbas Kiarostami: The Cineaste, The Philosopher

“If you look at the four seasons, each season brings fruit. In summer, there’s fruit, in autumn, too. Winter brings different fruit and spring, too. No mother can fill her fridge with such a variety of fruit for her children. No mother can do as much for her children as God does for His creatures.

You want to refuse all that?
You want to give it all up?

You want to give up the taste of cherries?”

(Mr Bagheri in Taste of Cherry)

Anything I can possibly write praising the late, great poet of cinema Abbas Kiarostami will be an epic disappointment. One, because I lack the finesse to write well, and secondly because the art that this grand filmmaker and artistic polymath has left us behind is beyond the limitations of words, it’s beauty is simply inexpressible.

Although, I had only seen ‘Taste of Cherry’ (quite a few years ago) and ‘Close-up’ (last February), prior to his untimely passing, I was so moved by just these two films that I felt compelled to say something – but I just didn’t know how or what. Continue reading

Believe those who seek truth, doubt those who find it.

Believe those who seek truth, doubt those who find it.

(André Gide)

Prophet of the Most High by Jean Moore

I first came across a similar version of the above quote in first few pages of the book ‘Makhmalbaf at Large’ written by Hamid Dabashi.

The seekers of truth(s)

I have discovered them through the ages, and undoubtedly they are few in numbers, yet they are the ones who I feel a deep reverance for.

Sometimes the world has called them saints, philosophers, poets, artists, or revolutionaries. Other times, they have been called heretics, or madmen.No matter what their labels, I believe they have shared a precious and rare commonality. This is their inheritance of an abnormally sensitive and fragile soul.

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Ghazal and Qawwali: The Gifts of Rumi, Khusro and Ghalib

Yes, there is truth to the idea that Ghazals and Qawwalis are the passions of the old.

Despite my limited proficiency in Urdu and my complete ignorance of the intricate differences between the different forms, I have seized the few chances I have had to attend such gatherings. Each time I have been surrounded mostly by the older generations.

I think this may be partly due to the frequent use of complex Urdu or Punjabi poetry which is difficult for the generally linguistically-challenged generations of today – myself included. It could also be because there is a greater focus on the lyrical value of the words sung, rather than simply emphasising repetitive foot-tapping musical numbers which appeal so much to the mainstream. But mostly, I think it is because of the deeper existential and melancholic themes that dominate the poetry – which appeal to older people who have perhaps had the gift to reflect on the past experiences in their lives, unlike the naive and inexperienced younger generations.

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Art, only after a lifetime of experiences.

Picasso

Maybe this happened, maybe it didn’t. Do the facts even matter, when the truth is so illuminating?

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a brave woman approached him.

“Oh my — It’s Picasso, the great artist! Oh, would you be kind enough to sketch my portrait for me?”

Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a few pencil strokes to create her portrait in a few minutes. He handed the woman his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed.  “You managed to capture my essence with a few strokes, in such little time. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“That will be ten thousand dollars” Picasso replied.

The woman was floored.

“Ten thousand dollars! How can you want so much money for it? Why, it only took you a few minutes to draw this sketch!”

To which, Picasso replied, “No, madam. It took me thirty years of my life to be able to draw like that.”