Where Is the Friend's House?

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Iran | 1987 | Narrative
83 minutes | Persian

The first in Abbas Kiarostami’s sublime, interlacing trilogy of films set in the northern Iranian village of Koker, “Where Is the Friend’s House?” takes a premise of fable-like simplicity — a boy searches for the home of his classmate whose school notebook he has accidentally taken — and transforms it into a miraculous, child’s-eye adventure of the everyday. As the young hero zigzags determinedly across two towns aided (and sometimes misdirected) by those he encounters, his quest becomes both a revealing portrait of Iranian society in all its richness and complexity and a touching parable about the meaning of personal responsibility. Shot through with all the wonder, beauty, tension, and mystery one day can contain, “Where Is the Friend’s House?” established Kiarostami’s reputation as one cinema’s most sensitive and profound humanists. The film was selected by artist Farah Al Qasimi as an accompaniment to “Everywhere there is splendor,” her newly commissioned, photo-based installation across the Contemporary Art Museum’s Project Wall. Al Qasimi has long documented and created alternative narratives of Arab culture, style, taste, and interior spaces, and for her CAM exhibition (which continues through Feb. 13), she focuses on her personal family history through a lens of intimacy and interiority.