Irreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. In the meanwhile the film follows his efforts to fit in with the local community and how he changes his own attitudes as a result.
Roushan Karam Elmi
A hundred and fourteen famous Iranian theater and cinema actresses and a French star: mute spectators at a theatrical representation of Khosrow and Shirin, a Persian poem from the twelfth ... See full summary »
The wife of Nasim, an Afghan immigrant in Iran, is gravely ill. He needs money to pay for her care, but his day labor digging wells does not pay enough. A friend connects Nasim to a two-bit... See full summary »
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #519. See more »
When Sabzian and Makhmalbaf meet, there is a bundle in Sabzian's hand. He gets on the motorbike with the bundle in his hand. Later on, during their ride on the motorbike, the bundle is not there any more. See more »
The film's title doesn't appear on screen until almost sixteen minutes into the film. See more »
A Truly Remarkable, Unique & Most Natural Illustration Of Human Identity!
Blurring the line between what's real & what's reconstructed from scratch, Close-Up is truly unique in what it pulls off over the course of its runtime and is an incredibly original, meditative & masterly constructed example of experimental filmmaking that offers an interesting glimpse into the psyche of a complicated man while showcasing the power of cinema itself.
Set in Iran, Close-Up covers the real-life trial of a cinephile who impersonated an acclaimed Iranian filmmaker and successfully conned a wealthy family in Tehran into believing that they would star in his new feature, that is until his luck ran out. The plot captures the ensuing trial that's filmed by the crew as it transpires in the courthouse while interspersed within those images are reenactments of the case.
Directed by Abbas Kiarostami, Close-Up marks my first stint with his works & what instantly caught my attention was the opening credits that showed every cast member to be playing themselves, an unusually surprising move. Kiarostami's direction deserves kudos for he manages to erase the line that differentiates reality from fiction by using same individuals who were involved in the real-life scene to reenact the earlier events.
What's also striking is that the reconstructed segments retain the raw, crude & untainted quality of recorded footage, while everything that unfolds in the courthouse is not a result of any rehearsed wordplay. Although the confession of the accused gives us a peek into his complex persona as well as his thought process, it also elegantly exposes the existing divide between the rich & the poor in Iranian society.
Throughout the trial, Kiarostami tries to get the perpetrator's side of the story on the camera and while there are times that make you wonder if he's still staging an act or is being honest, some of the things said by him do reflect a bitter truth about the society we live in, like when he talks about the love, respect & hospitality he received from the family when he pretended to be someone else, something he never would've experienced otherwise.
It's not that you can't differentiate between what's real & what's reenacted in Close-Up but the way its entire plot is executed, it makes you forget that deception & allows you experience it for what it is. Cinematography makes splendid use of the camera which is brilliantly utilised for long unbroken takes, hidden recordings, fixed smooth pans & fluid movements while Editing cleverly arranges the different segments into one consistently engaging narrative.
On an overall scale, Close-Up is an expertly crafted docufiction about human identity and captures it in its most natural form. Real-life can be just as full of drama & spices as any story brought to life on a film canvas and both forms inspire one another more often than usual. Although regarded by many to be one of modern cinema's greatest works, Close-Up didn't enthral me enough to join that particular crowd but I do admire its uniqueness, originality & honesty. Definitely recommended.
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