Friday, July 29, 2016

A00081 - Malick Sidibe, First African Photographer to Receive the Hasselblad Award

Sidibe, Malick
Malick Sidibe, a Malian photographer who was the first African photographer to receive the Hasselblad Award, was born in Soloba, French Sudan.

Malick Sidibé (b. c. 1935, Soloba, French Sudan [now Mali]—d. April 14, 2016, Bamako, Mali) was a Malian photographer whose images captured the essence of the newly independent youth of Bamako, Mali.
Sidibé’s first home was a Peul (Fulani) village. After finishing school in 1952, he trained as a jewelry maker and then studied painting at the École des Artisans Soudanais (now the Institut National des Arts) in Bamako, graduating in 1955. In 1956, he was apprenticed to French photographer Gérard Guillat and began to photograph the street life of Bamako, capturing the spirit of the city’s inhabitants as Mali made the transition from colony to independent country. In particular, Sidibé chronicled the carefree youth culture at dance clubs and parties, at sporting events, and on the banks of (or in) the Niger River. His remarkably intimate shots show exuberant young Africans intoxicated with Western styles in music and fashion.
Although he continued his street work and close association with young Malians for another 20 years, in 1958 Sidibé opened his own commercial studio and camera-repair shop. There he took thousands of portraits, of both individuals and groups, creating dramatic images of subjects eager to assert their post-colonial middle-class identity, often with exaggerated idealized versions of themselves. After 1978, he worked exclusively in his studio.
Sidibé’s work was unknown outside his own country until the early 1990s, when European art critic André Magnin, who was in Bamako to visit another Malian photographer, Seydou Keita, was taken to Sidibé’s studio by mistake. Magnin began to publicize the photographs of Sidibé, and he published a monograph on the photographer in 1998. There followed an impressive number of group and solo exhibitions in Europe, the United States, and Japan. In 2003 Sidibé received the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. He was also awarded the Venice Biennale art exhibition’s Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement; he was the first photographer and the first African to ever receive the honor.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A00080 - Abbas Kiarostami, Iran's Greatest Director

Abbas Kiarostami(b. June 22, 1940, Tehrān, Iran — d. July 4, 2016, Paris, France) was an Iranian director-writer known for experimenting with the boundaries between reality and fiction.
Kiarostami studied painting and graphic arts at the University of Tehrān and spent a period designing posters, illustrating children’s books, and directing advertisements and film credit sequences. He was hired in 1969 by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults to establish its film division. The institute produced his first film as a director, the lyrical short Nān va kūcheh (1970; Bread and Alley), which featured elements that would define his later work: improvised performances, documentary textures, and real-life rhythms. His first feature, Mosāfer (1974; The Traveler), about a rebellious village boy determined to go to Tehran and watch a football (soccer) match, is an indelible portrait of a troubled adolescent. In the 1980s, Kiarostami’s documentaries Avalihā (1984; First Graders) and Mashq-e shab (1989; Homework) offered insight into the lives of Iranian schoolchildren.
In the Koker trilogy, named for the village where much of the trilogy takes place, Kiarostami moved from his traditional subject matter of the moral lives of children to explore the overlap between films and reality. In Khaneh-ye dust kojast? (1987; Where Is the Friend’s Home?), an eight-year-old boy must return his friend’s notebook, but he does not know where his friend lives. The second film, endegi va digar hich (1992; And Life Goes On…, or Life and Nothing More), follows the journey of the director (played by an actor) of Where Is the Friend’s Home? to Koker, damaged by a severe earthquake since the first film, to find the young boy who starred in that movie. And Life Goes On… was also the first of Kiarostami’s films centered around a car trip, a motif he would return to often in his career. The final film in the trilogy, ir-e darakhtan-e evton (1994; Through the Olive Trees), is about an actor’s difficult romantic pursuit of a fellow actress during the filming of And Life Goes On…. During this period Kiarostami also made Namay-e nadik (1990; Close-Up), which tells the true story of a film buff who swindled an upper-class Tehrān family by pretending to be noted director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film buff, the family, and Makhmalbaf all played themselves. The Koker trilogy and Close-Up brought Kiarostami international acclaim. 
Kiarostami's screenplay for Jafar Panahi's Bādkonak-e sefīd (1995; The White Balloon), a look at life through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl, further increased his reputation.
In Taʿm-e gīlās (1997; Taste of Cherry), a man drives around the hills outside Tehrān trying to find someone who will bury him after he commits suicide. Much of the film’s action unfolds in long scenes of conversation set in the protagonist’s car. Taste of Cherry shared the Palme d’Or with Imamura Shohei's Unagi (The Eel) at the 1997 Cannes film festival. Bād mā rā khāhad bord (1999; The Wind Will Carry Us) tells the story of an engineer who travels with a film crew to a remote mountain village to document a funeral ceremony. The film is told in an elliptical style, with many characters remaining offscreen entirely.
ABC Africa (2001) is a documentary about Ugandan orphans whose parents died of AIDS or were killed in the civil war, and it was the first of several features Kiarostami shot entirely by using digital video. With 10 (2002) Kiarostami took advantage of the creative freedom offered by lightweight digital video equipment to do a film of 10 scenes set entirely in the front seat of a car. A young divorced woman drives around Tehrān and has conversations with her son and a diverse group of women who form a cross section of contemporary Iran. Five: 5 Long Takes Dedicated to Yasujiro Ou (2003) is five scenes of a seashore shot without camera movement in a style inspired by that of Japanese director Ou Yasujiro, and it began a period of Kiarostami’s work in which he made films that eschewed narrative. In Shīrīn (2008) members of an audience of women watch a film inspired by Nezami's romantic epic poem Khosrow o-Shīrīn (“Khosrow and Shīrīn”). The film consists, except for the credits, of close-ups of the women, and the film-within-the-film about Khosrow and Shīrīn is heard but never shown.
Copie conforme (2010; Certified Copy) was Kiarostami’s first narrative feature film since 10 and the first he shot outside Iran. In Tuscany a gallery owner (played by Juliette Binoche, who appeared in Shīrīn) invites an art historian (William Shimell) to tour the countryside with her. However, the true nature of their relationship is ambiguous in that sometimes they act as a long-married couple and sometimes they seem to have just met. Like Someone in Love (2012), which was shot in Japan, is about a young prostitute, her fiancé, and one of her clients, an elderly writer, and is another of Kiarostami’s films that features many driving scenes.
Kiarostami’s films garnered numerous awards throughout his career. In 2004 he received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for theatre/film.

A00079 - Mohamed Khan, Egyptian Filmmaker

Khan, Mohamed
Mohamed Hamed Hassan Khan (Egyptian Arabicمحمد حامد حسن خان‎‎ ; b. October 26, 1942, Cairo, Egypt – d. July 26, 2016, Cairo, Egypt) was an Egyptian-British film director, screenwriter, and actor. He was a well-known member of the "1980s generation" in Egyptian cinema, along with directors such as Khairy Beshara, Daoud Abdel Sayed, Atef El-Tayeb and Yousry Nasrallah. His main aesthetic credo, in line with directors from his generation, was a reinvigorated realism seeking direct documentation of everyday life in Cairo, beyond the walls of the studio.
Khan was born on October 26, 1942 in Cairo, Egypt. After completing his high school education in Egypt, he went on to study at the London School of Film Technique (now known as The London International Film School) between 1962 and 1963. While in London, Khan directed several 8mm films. In 1963, he returned to Egypt and worked in the script department of the General Egyptian Film Organization. Between 1964 and 1966, Khan worked as an assistant director in Lebanon. He then moved again in England, where he wrote his book "An Introduction to the Egyptian Cinema" published by Informatics in 1969. He edited another Book entitled “Outline of Czechoslovakian Cinema”, which was also published by Informatics in 1971.
His 1983 film The Street Player was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival.  According to a book issued by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in December 2007, Khan's Ahlam Hind we Kamilia (1988) is one of the 100 landmarks in the history of the Egyptian cinema. 
He had one daughter, Nadine, a film director, and one son, Hassan. He was married to Wessam Soliman,  an Egyptian scenarist who wrote three of his movies: Banat Wust el-Balad (Downtown Girls), Fi-Sha'et Masr el-Guedida (In a Heliopolis Apartment), and Fatat el-Masna' (The Factory Girl).