Man ham mitounam

Man ham mitounam
So Can I

The first of Kiarostami’s films made for, rather than about, children was an experiment in combining live action and animation, done in collaboration with animator Nafiseh Riahi. As two schoolboys watch the movements of animated animals, on the TV (such as kangaroos jumping, fish swimming, etc.), one boy, played by Riahi’s son Kamal, says, ‘I can, too,’ and imitates the actions. The music is sprightly, the mood fun. Interestingly, the second boy is played by Kiarostami’s son, Ahmad.


“A particularly brilliant illustration is his short film, Manam Mitunam [So Can I] (1975), which is crafted with impeccable precision and brevity. Here, in less than four minutes, we see him crossing the transformative boundaries of three interrelated spaces. [...] The exemplary world of art (the television, the cartoon, the very magic of ‘cinema’) and the internal logic of nature (the animals depicted in the cartoon) affectionately embrace the ‘real’ world of the two children, prompting them to emotive and demonstrative responses.”

Hamid Dabashi1


“It looks as though this is another variation on the Kiarostami themes of the strength of desire and the limitations imposed by reality; but, in an unexected twist, an aroplane suddenly appears, circling the skies overhead. This beautiful ending to So Can I, with the boy ‘caught between the impossibility of copying the birds and the solution provided by technology’, in Tullio Masoni’s words, exudes an undeniable lyricism; it resists any narrow interpretation involving a predictable and simplistic ‘moral’ to the story. In addition, ‘the distance between the impossible dream and the modern ‘miracle’ is apparently viewed by the director with a mixture of enlightened confidence and a feeling of surprise’, which only serves to enhance the subtle charm that permeates So Can I.”

Alberto Elena2

  • 1Hamid Dabashi, Close Up. Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future (London/New York: Verso, 2001), 50.
  • 2Alberto Elena, The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami (London: SAQI in association with Iran Herritage Foundation, 2005), 31. Translated from Spanish by Belinda Coombes.
UPDATED ON 21.10.2023