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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Iranian director's driving desire
ranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's latest film Ten
Kiarostami's new film focuses on an unnamed woman driving around Tehran
Critics have called Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's latest film Ten "audacious" and "a radical masterpiece". He spoke to the BBC World Service's Meridian Screen programme about it.

Filmed solely on two digital cameras, Ten is a minimalist film about an unnamed woman driving around modern day Tehran with different passengers.

"The new film is based on dialogues," Kiarostami said.

"I wanted to see if it was possible to make a whole film using just two points of view."

Avant-garde

Reducing the world to the inside of a car, Kiarostami shot the new film with one static camera on the driver's seat and one on the passenger.

Working individually with each non-professional member of the cast, the director has created what he hopes is a "fiction more realistic than reality".

ranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami's latest film Ten
A real mother and son relationship is explored in Ten
He explained how his avant-garde technique meant "neither knew what the other was going to say".

"It is like a tennis game when the opponent never knows where the ball is going to go," he added.

Whilst the camera angles mean that often it is hard to see who is talking, in 10 short episodes the viewer observes the driver's encounters with her difficult son, a pious woman and a prostitute played by a "humble and modest" friend.

The film also includes a conversation between the driver and a distraught friend who shaves her head - a highly provocative piece of direction in Iranian cinema.

"It was so easy to convince her to shave her head," Kiarostami explained, "because she was an artist and it meant nothing to her."

"She shaved it twice. The first time we found the film was no good and six months later she came back and we repeated the sequence."

Minimalist

Kiarostami's previous films have won him much praise and several prizes including the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1997 for The Taste of Cherry and the a special jury prize for The Wind Will Carry Us at Venice in 1999.

Working solely on digital film, the celebrated director explained the merits of low budget film-making.

"One of the good things about digital cameras is the way you can go on without having to make cuts," he said.

"Even if they make mistakes, you can go back and correct them in the editing suite."

Directing scenes from the back seat of the car, Kiarostami went on to explain how filming Ten in such a small space was like "directing for the theatre".

"You have to prepare everything beforehand," he said.

"You cannot intervene in the middle of the play if you are the director.

"But you can whisper to them and maybe from time to time remind them of what else needs to be said."

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Abbas Kiarostami speaks to Meridian Screen
"The new film is based on dialogues"
See also:

04 May 01 | Entertainment
02 Sep 01 | Middle East
10 Jan 02 | Crossing Continents
08 Feb 02 | Country profiles
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