On July 4, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami died at age 76 after a battle with gastrointestinal cancer, leaving behind a legendary resume. The international cinematic visionary is known for award-winning films like Close-Up (1990), Taste of Cherry (1997), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), and Certified Copy (2010). But his career began back in 1970, with a black-and-white short film called The Bread and Alley.
For his directorial debut, Kiarostami created the short for the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran. It follows a little boy who encounters a barking stray dog in an alley on his way home after buying a loaf of bread for his family. Though it runs just 10 minutes, Kiarostami said that it was one of his most challenging films. Despite changing dogs three times after one of the canines had rabies, he managed to complete the short in 40 days.
“The Bread and Alley was my first experience in cinema and I must say a very difficult one,” Kiarostami admitted to Synoptique. “I had to work with a very young child, a dog, and an unprofessional crew, except for the cinematographer, who was nagging and complaining all the time. Well, the cinematographer in a sense was right because I did not follow the conventions of filmmaking that he had become accustomed to.”
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