8.3/10
13,283
43 user 79 critic

Close-Up (1990)

Nema-ye Nazdik (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 30 October 1991 (France)
The true story of Hossain Sabzian that impersonated the director Mohsen Makhmalbaf to convince a family they would star in his so-called new film.

Director:

Abbas Kiarostami
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hossain Sabzian ... Himself
Mohsen Makhmalbaf ... Himself
Abolfazl Ahankhah Abolfazl Ahankhah ... Himself
Mehrdad Ahankhah Mehrdad Ahankhah ... Himself
Monoochehr Ahankhah Monoochehr Ahankhah ... Himself
Mahrokh Ahankhah Mahrokh Ahankhah ... Herself
Nayer Mohseni Zonoozi Nayer Mohseni Zonoozi ... Herself
Ahmad Reza Moayed Mohseni Ahmad Reza Moayed Mohseni ... Family Friend
Hossain Farazmand Hossain Farazmand ... Reporter
Hooshang Shamaei Hooshang Shamaei ... Taxi Driver
Mohammad Ali Barrati Mohammad Ali Barrati ... Soldier
Davood Goodarzi Davood Goodarzi ... Sergeant
Haj Ali Reza Ahmadi Haj Ali Reza Ahmadi ... Judge
Hassan Komaili Hassan Komaili ... Court Recorder
Davood Mohabbat Davood Mohabbat ... Court Recorder
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Storyline

Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Hossain Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual people involved in the incident re-enact the actual events, followed by the footage from the actual trial that took place. Written by Sam Tabibnia <samtab@uclink.berkeley.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

sourehcinema

Country:

Iran

Language:

Persian | Azerbaijani

Release Date:

30 October 1991 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Close-Up See more »

Filming Locations:

Tehran, Iran

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,670, 2 January 2000

Gross USA:

$2,670
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (2K restored version) (some scenes)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked number 39 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Crazy Credits

The film's title doesn't appear on screen until almost sixteen minutes into the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in What Is Cinema? (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
10/10
12 August 2003 | by desperatelivingSee all my reviews

Method acting is taken to the extreme in the case of this film's main character, Sabzian, a real-life person who impersonated a real-life filmmaker (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) he deeply admired, and who is taken to court by a family he has deceived -- and has his trial filmed by Abbas Kiarostami. Watching the film, I was aware that these events really did occur, and that the actors playing these characters were the real people involved (the opening credits clue us in, when they say, "appearing as themselves"), but I did not catch on that the courtroom scenes were real footage -- to be honest, I'm still not quite sure. (That IMDb lists the judge in the credits as "judge" and not as "himself," makes me suspect that this is indeed all a reenactment.) But whether or not the entire film is a reenactment or only the time-shifting parts with Sabzian and the family at their home are reenacted, the moment where Makhmalbaf appears onscreen is a transcendent one, as true in spirit as "real life" (which it may indeed be).

Kiarostami is a true artist, the ideal described by Sabzian in the film, one who makes his films to depict the suffering of people. He's one of the few with the power to seem wholly pure -- he makes me feel, at least in the moment, that film's real artists are the ones who aren't mere stylists. They're the ones interested in our hopes, our guilts, our ambitions, our fears. The ones interested in people. And here, Sabzian is trying to do something for other people; he's symbol of their love for the arts, by himself masquerading as a great artist. He's living vicariously through the artist he admires, and in doing so -- however morally ambiguously -- accentuating the most candid aspects of himself. By simply assuming another name, he can have people treat his views with respect, and in this way the film is a scathing attack on celebrity status and the priority with which we give them. However, Kiarostami doesn't let us be satisfied with Sabzian's candor; we're never sure where we stand with him, and the possibility is that his entire court appearance is another grand performance. (With the credits rolling over a frozen image of Sabzian's face, and his general persona of a troubled but deeply good-hearted person, I was reminded of an adult Antoine Doinel.)

Kiarostami and Sabzian admit that we're all actors in one way or another, from a director to you and me: "We are the slaves of a mask hiding our true face. If we free ourselves from this, the beauty of truth will be ours." This film and "Taste of Cherry" have got to me on such an intimate and personal level, and seem so honest and truthful -- sometimes in a seemingly banal way -- that I don't know how I can recommend them to others. While I think this is a masterpiece, if you expect to be blown away you'll be disappointed. But with artists this open, if you're willing to open yourself up, too, hopefully it can mean as much to you as it does to me. 10/10


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