This article in the latest issue of The Believer starts of very promising, but then it gets tangled up in some annoying musings on Abbas Kiarostami. Annoying because contrary to what is said, Kiarostami isn't only a filmmaker devoted to "mythical and contemplative places". Sometimes he's realistic and political, and besides, how can one not be a political filmmaker. The argument also goes that Kiarostami is "just an art-director" (how can that be a bad thing?). But Kiarostami has no moral obligations to be either the one thing or the other, his only obligations are to his own conscience.
The fact that some critics in the West exploit and "exotice" him should not be used as an argument against Kiarostami but only against those critics.
But the article is still a worthwhile read, especially the bit about Ali, the Henri Langlois of Iran.