Tuesday, March 15, 2016

822. Close-Up

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Correct me if I am wrong, but this might be the only Iranian film on the List.  It was quite an interesting find, so I might have to explore more movies from Iran.  If you didn't pick up on my subtle hinting there, I am asking you to leave recommendations in the comments.

Hossain Sabzian is riding home on a bus when day when an elderly woman comments on the book he is reading, The Cyclist .  She says that she loves the movie adaptation of The Cyclist, which was directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf.  Sabzian, a cinephile, claims that he is Makhmalbaf and is riding the bus home to find new film subjects.  He tells the woman that he wants to use her family for his next movie, but will need money for filming.  On the outside, Sabzian's scheme seems like an audacious ploy to steal some money.  However, it is clear to the audience that Sabzian simply likes thinking of himself as a famous director.

This is a strange film, as it is part documentary, part reenactment, with everyone playing themselves.  It's certainly an intriguing format and one that you have to admire for its uniqueness.  I can't honestly say I was on the edge of my seat for the entire running time.  By the last half hour, I was ready to call it quits.  The driest part of the film for me was the courtroom scenes, although I suppose they were necessary.  The showing is always more interesting than the telling.

Still, one that was worth sitting through.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

In the 2010 Sight & Sound poll, it was voted as the 42nd greatest film of all time.


  1. I know you have not got on well with Abbas Kiarostami, which is, in my opinion, a shame, but I will say I think there are better Kiarostami films out there than the three the book picks.
    I just felt I would butt in here because he died earlier this week, and I think he did some very good stuff.

    1. I didn't know that! I just had to look it up on Facebook. Damn. Any other recommendations?

  2. I liked 'White balloon', shock, as it's about a kid. Also 'Where is my friends house' is .. gulp, also about a kid. All that said, I did actually quite like the three in the book. I've actually gt to enjoy quite a few Iranian films of late .. I went to see 'About Ellie', which is OK, It's by the same guy (forgotten the name right now) who did 'A Separation', which is VERY highly recommended.

  3. 'A Separation' was filmed by Asghar Farhadi and yes their films are very interesting and the most suitable Iranian films for Western audiences. I would add "The Past" to your list, Ray.

    By the way, Amanda you forgot that The Cow and The House Is Black were also Iranian films - but it's actually quite natural because they were not particularly memorable and you watched them very long time ago.

  4. Hi Alex .. and yes,I'd agree. Also since I wrote the above, the obvious new addition would be 'The Salesman'

  5. Now that you said that I remember The Cow but not The House is Black...and I still have to watch the Salesman!