Passing away at the age of 76 last summer, Abbas Kiarostami was one of our greatest directors. The Iranian filmmaker was able to extract the essence of the human soul throughout his career, leaving behind a number of essential films. For his last work, he directed the experimental project 24 Frames, which is a collection of four-and-half-minute films that takes inspiration from still images, including paintings and his own photographs. Ahead of a premiere at Cannes, the first images have now arrived for what sounds like a fitting swan song, along with more details.
“I always wonder to what extent the artist aims to depict the reality of a scene. Painters capture only one frame of reality and nothing before or after it. For the 24 Frames I decided to use the photos I had taken through the years,” Kiarostami said when it comes to his final film. “I included 4’30” of what I imagined might have taken place before or after each image that I had captured.”
Check out the images above and below, along with a longer description by the late director.
I first conceived of 24 Frames while reflecting on the works of iconic painters whose pieces were created prior to the advent of cinema; I pondered the aspiration of artists in this era to capture reality with precision. This is evident in the level of detail in their paintings, as illustrated by The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel or The Gleaners by Millet Jean Francois. The artists capture a snapshot, a single frame, nothing before, nothing after. 24 Frames began with musings on epochal paintings and evolved with the photographs I had taken over the years. Each of these frames is in essence 4 minutes and 30 seconds of what I imagine to have transpired before and after a single image.