By Abbas Kiarostami


Abbas Kiarostami is widely regarded as one of the most important, ambitious and rewarding filmmakers at work today. With Shirin, he continues to explore the potential of cinema, stimulating and challenging the viewer's imagination to an extraordinary degree. ‘I can’t bear narrative cinema. I leave the theater. The more it engages in storytelling and the better it does it, the greater my resistance to it. The only way to envision a new cinema is to have more regard for the spectator’s role... It is necessary to envision an unfinished and incomplete cinema so that the spectator can intervene and fill the void, the gaps… The solution may lie precisely in stimulating the viewer so that their presence is active and constructive.’ (Abbas Kiarostami in conversation with Jean Luc Nancy in 2001).



What Shirin shows us – and indeed all it shows us – is an audience of more than 100 women who are deeply absorbed in watching a film we never see. We observe instead how the drama plays out on the faces of the audience, seen in close up, mostly one at a time – a mesmerizing series of portraits of women, young and old; their expressions alternately wistful, quizzical, amused, enraptured and distraught.


Based on the powerful 12th Century Persian poem by Nazami, the film-within-the-film is a story of star-crossed lovers and female self-sacrifice that is as well known in modern-day Iran as Romeo and Juliet is in the West.




90 min. / HD

Language: Persian

Subtitles: English

Cinematography: Mahmoud Kalari

Sound: Mohammad Reza Delpak and Reza Narimizadeh

Editing: Abbas Kiarostami and Arash Sadeghi

Production: Abbas Kiarostami and Hamideh Razavi

Distribution: MK2 Distribution

Abbas Kiarostami is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, photographer and film producer. An active filmmaker since 1970, Kiarostami has been involved in over forty films, including shorts and documentaries. He is also a poet, photographer, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. Abbas Kiarostami is widely celebrated as one of the world's leading contemporary filmmakers. His recognizable, personal style of filmmaking is permeated by a forward-thinking, innovative spirit that has placed his work at the vanguard of filmmaking — all the while carving a place for Iranian cinema in modern film history.