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Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy

Mathew Abbott

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A deflationary, anti-theoretical film-philosophy through the cinema of Abbas Kiarostami

Mathew Abbott presents a powerful new film-philosophy through the cinema of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. Mathew Abbott argues that Kiarostami’s films carry out cinematic thinking: they do not just illustrate pre-existing philosophical ideas, but do real philosophical work.

Crossing the divide between analytic and continental philosophy, he draws on Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stanley Cavell, John McDowell, Alice Crary, Noël Carroll, Giorgio Agamben, and Martin Heidegger, bringing out the thinking at work in Kiarostami’s most recent films: Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, ABC Africa, Ten, Five, Shirin, Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love.



Introduction: Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy

1. Cinematic Scepticism

2. Apparition and Appearance

3. Everything there is to Know

4. Artifice and the Ordinary

5. Absorption and Spectatorship

6. The Comedy of Remarriage in an Age of Digital Reproducibility

7. The Suspension of Belief



About the Author

Mathew Abbott is Lecturer in Philosophy at Federation University Australia. He completed his PhD at in philosophy at the University of Sydney. He has taught philosophy, film, aesthetics and poetry at Sydney, the Australian National University and the University of Canberra. He researches modern European philosophy, political philosophy, critical theory and aesthetics.


Abbas Kiarostami and Film-Philosophy is an eloquent and impressive study of one of the most important filmmakers in world cinema. Not only does Abbott explore Kiarostami’s work with subtlety and insight, he makes a powerful and original contribution to the debate over cinema’s philosophical significance – the idea of ‘film as philosophy’. Essential reading for anyone concerned with film, philosophy and world cinemas.

- Robert Sinnerbrink, Macquarie University

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