Abbas Kiarostami, Iran's only Palme D’Or-winning director, dies at age 76

Director Abbas Kiarostami © Christian Hartmann
Abbas Kiarostami, the only Iranian director to ever win the Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palme D’Or award, has died in Paris at the age of 76.

He won the French prize in 1997 for his minimalist film ‘Taste of Cherry’ as well as reaping several awards at other film festivals.

While Kiarostami made most of his films within Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he shot his last two features in Japan (“Like Someone In Love”) and Italy (“Certified Copy” with Juliette Binoche), the latter of which was nominated for a Palme D’Or and won the festival’s Award of the Youth.

Avant garde French-Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard reportedly said: "Film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami."

The Hollywood Reporter wrote in 2013 that Kiarostami usually steered clear of making political comments about the government of his home country.

Some of his films pre-dating the revolution were banned, and in one case, his 1978 film The Report, the master negatives were destroyed.

Kiarostami had been undergoing cancer treatment at the time of his death.