Architectural Interpretation of Kiarostami's Poetic Cinema

  • Image
    photograph of Iranian film director Abbas KIAROSTAMI
    IRAN. Tehran. 1997. Iranian film director Abbas KIAROSTAMI
    Photo by Abbas Attar, © A. Abbas/Magnum Photos, source:
Bahman Shafiee

The Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami is famous for depicting natural landscapes and Iranian vernacular architecture in his films. These spaces function not only as visual motifs, but also as elements that shape the cinematic spaces of his films, recount the narratives, and foreshadow the plots’ conclusions.
This thesis examines five of his films to understand how space is used in visual storytelling and to derive an architectural interpretation from his cinematic spaces. Positioning that a film can be read through spatial experiences, this thesis aims to discuss and deconstruct the spatial composition of Kiarostami’s cinematic images, and then re-envision them through an architectural narrative.
I discuss architectural and cinematic spaces in his cinema, as wells as the juxtaposition of these elements into a sequential image. Then, through a process that combines architectural design with cinematic framing and editing, I reconstruct and present spaces inspired by Kiarostami’s vision of place and space in a series of architectural vignettes.
Through the act of investigating Kiarostami’s spatial language in filmmaking, this thesis introduces architectural methodologies as a tool for the analysis of cinematic narratives and concepts. The visualization of these narratives through my own interpretation transcribes Kiarostami’s approach to spatial storytelling into architectural place making and design.

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