|Kiarostami's beautiful film is one of my new favorites.|
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami
Produced by Ali Reza Zarrin
Written by Abbas Kiarostami
Starring Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazi Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah and Hossain Farazmand
Plot Summary: Hossain Sabzian, an unemployed film lover, poses as Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and faces trial for deceiving the Ahankhah family.
Significance: Often cited as Kiarostami's greatest film, it was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (tied for #43 in the critics poll and #37 in the directors poll). The film only won a couple of awards at festivals in Istanbul and Montreal, but it has since become a very respected film by critics and cinephiles alike. Director Werner Herzog even called it "the greatest documentary on filmmaking I have ever seen."
Thoughts: Kiarostami's film does an excellent job of recreating the true events of this documentary, while incorporating actual footage from Sabzian's trial. The Ahankhah family members do a fine job in the reenactment scenes (playing themselves), as does Sabzian, who gives the standout "performance." Some of the best documentaries blur the lines between fact and fiction, and Kiarostami has managed to create an arresting film with a compelling narrative from this true story. Rarely have I been so engaged with a film, let alone a documentary. Though, the film doesn't feel like a typical documentary at all. Rather, it plays like a minimalist drama with a fascinating character study. If you've not experienced a Kiarostami film, this would be a wonderful starting point.
This is the seventh film in my 2014 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.
Of the films by Kiarostami so far, this is my favorite as I was just amazed at the concept of reality and fiction. I'm glad I have the Criterion DVD as I hope to go through his entire body of work soon.ReplyDelete
Yeah, this is my favorite Kiarostami film as well, though I've only seen this, Certified Copy and Taste of Cherry.Delete
This sounds wonderful, and the fact that it's become one of your favorites is definitely a glowing endorsement. I need to add this to my list.ReplyDelete
Hope you get a chance to see it then. I had almost no expectations, and it blew me away!Delete
I've really wanted to see this for a while now. I love what Kiarostami I have seen, and I've heard this is top notch from him. Great review. Reminds me a tad of a certain Polley film I adore ;-)ReplyDelete
Thanks man! Ha, that Polley film did cross my mind. ;) This is my #1 of 1990 now, and it's going to be VERY high on my next top 100 list update.Delete
I've only seen Certified Copy from Kiarostami, clearly he's a filmmaker I still need to familiarize myself with. I like gripping documentaries, this one sounds really good!ReplyDelete
This is one of the most interesting documentaries I've ever seen. If you're going to watch something else by Kiarostami, I'd go with this or Taste of Cherry.Delete
I was intrigued by Close-Up too, so different to other films out there. Maybe the message is that unemployment is the root cause of crime/pranks. An original and thought-provoking film, which will be debated for years to come.ReplyDelete
Glad you liked it too, Chris! It's easily my favorite documentary, and it's the only one in my top 100 favorite films. :)Delete