Now Playing! At the Roxie, Kiarostami’s Final, Exquisite Elegy

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Still from Abbas Kiarostami's '24 Frames,' 2017. (Courtesy of the Roxie)

Inscrutable behind his shades, Abbas Kiarostami reveled in being an enigma. The world-renowned Iranian director’s refusal to be categorized was apparent from his neorealist masterpieces, such as Taste of Cherry and The Wind Will Carry Us, that employed novice or nonprofessional actors to blur the parameters signifying (and separating) fiction and nonfiction. However, although the art house world recognized Kiarostami as an iconoclast and a humanist, his predisposition to experiment often went unnoticed.

His final film, 24 Frames, completed under the supervision of his son Ahmad after Kiarostami’s death in July 2016, spotlights both the filmmaker’s acuity with short filmmaking and his fascination with nature photography. Working primarily from his own pictures of landscapes and wildlife, Kiarostami used CGI to depict what could have happened before or after the moment of exposure. The result is two dozen exquisitely shaped shorts that range from ephemeral episodes to esoteric experiments to meditative interludes.

Still from Abbas Kiarostami's '24 Frames,' 2017.
Still from Abbas Kiarostami's '24 Frames,' 2017. (Courtesy of the Roxie)

24 Frames, opening Friday, March 16 at the Roxie, is a rare and rarefied filmgoing experience. Now, a certain delicacy and poignancy accompanies the last work of a major director, but the waters run even deeper: 24 Frames proves, beyond all debate, that Abbas Kiarostami was not merely a great filmmaker but a major artist. Ahmad Kiarostami will be at the Roxie with writer and distributor Jonathan Marlow for a Q&A session after the 6:30pm screening on Saturday, March 17.

'24 Frames' plays at San Francisco's Roxie Theater March 16-22. For tickets and more information, click here.