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Iran, 2001 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami receives a desperate fax from a Ugandan orphan relief organisation. Assistance is urgently needed and a documentary on the subject by so esteemed a filmmaker would help enormously, Kiarostami flies to Uganda on a pre-production scout but soon finds he's making the actual film.

"Despite years of devastation, bloody civil war and disease—an entire generation here seems suffused with an irrepressible, unsentimental hopefulness and optimism. ABC Africa returns to the unfettered examination of children's issues that dates back to Abbas Kiarostami's earliest shorts. Despite the intimidating vastness of Africa and its myriad tragedies, he digs in to find the microcosmic incident that suggests a larger, fundamental question.

Viewers might assume that Kiarostami's trip would yield only heartbreaking images of ( death and destruction. But while such images are present, the director is more likely to turn his attention to a gaggle of Ugandan children erupting into joyous song on a muddied street, their wide-eyed awe drawing them wondrousiy toward the camera's lens,"—Variety. Official Selection, Cannes 2001.

See also...


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