Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:16PM
Thousands of Iranians attend the funeral ceremony of the internationally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, in Tehran on July 10, 2016. © IRNA
Thousands of Iranians attend the funeral ceremony of the internationally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, in Tehran on July 10, 2016. © IRNA

Thousands of Iranians have attended a ceremony to bid farewell to the internationally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, who passed away in Paris last week.

Iranian officials, artists, cinema and theater lovers as well as thousands of people from all walks of life gathered on Sunday at Tehran's Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where Kiarostami began his filmmaking career some 40 years ago.

People carry portraits of the internationally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, during his memorial service in Tehran on July 10, 2016. © IRNA

The nearby streets were decorated with the portraits of Kiarostami.

The renowned Iranian director, who won the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for the Taste of Cherry, died on July 4 in France where he had been receiving treatment for cancer. The 76-year-old award-winning filmmaker suffered a stroke in Paris a few days after leaving Tehran.

Speaking in the memorial service, Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, who won Iran's first Oscar for A Separation in 2012, said he cannot believe having to make a speech in a funeral ceremony for Kiarostami.

Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, speaks during the funeral ceremony of the internationally-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, in Tehran on July 10, 2016. ©IRNA

Farhadi hailed his fellow artist’s efforts in generating international enthusiasm for Iranian films.

Kiarostami's body, which was repatriated to Iran on Friday, was laid to rest in Lavasan, a small town in Shemiranat county in Tehran Province.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Culture Minister Ali Jannati on Tuesday expressed their condolences over the sad demise of Kiarostami.

In March 2016, Kiarostami was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, following which he underwent a series of operations.

Kiarostami wrote and directed dozens of films over a career spanning more than four decades.

In his late years, Kiarostami started to travel the world, making Certified Copy in France and Like Someone in Love in Japan.

Referring to his travels, Kiarostami said he was attempting to make a narrative about "universal characters that can be accessible to everyone."