One of the most visionary figures in international cinema, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami makes films that both challenge viewers' expectations of modern filmmaking and expound a deeply humanist philosophy. Using a deceptive simplicity to explore very complex issues, Kiarostami stresses the importance of material over technique. Taking his inspiration and story ideas from the people around him and the observations of everyday life, and stressing a natural, improvisational approach from his actors, he has said, "I think that technique for technique's sake is a big lie, as it doesn't answer real feelings and real needs."
Born in Tehran on June 22, 1940, Kiarostami made his directing and screenwriting debut in 1970 with Nan va Koutcheh/The Bread and Alley. He first earned international acclaim and recognition in 1987 with Where is the Friend's Home?, the story of a child's self-imposed journey to find his friend's house so he can give him a lost notebook full of important homework. Stressing a natural approach to his material and building his film on endless repetition, Kiarostami succeeded in making a film from a child's point of view that refused to adopt the condescending, cutesy tone of most films made about children, and he earned kudos for his work.