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Iran, 1990 (MIFF 2003, Abbas Kiarostami – Iranian Master)

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

"Werner Herzog calls this 'the greatest documentary on filmmaking I have ever seen.' Much stranger than fiction, Close-Up recounts the bizarre case of Hosem Sabzian, a frustrated film buff who pretended to be well-know director Moshen Makhmalbaf. Under the guise of preparing a new project, the imposter became intimate with the Ahkankhaha, a well-to-do but naive family. His ruse, however was soon discovered, and an ambitious magazine reporter characterized Sabzian as a dangerous conman.

"Kiarostami obtained permission to film Sabzian's trial and afterwards persuaded all involved (except the journalist) to recreate the event. Poignant, compelling and frequently humorous, Close-Up works on many levels. It documents the vulnerable nature of the human ego, highlighting every person's need for recognition and high self-esteem. Its mix of cinema-verite and re-enactment underscores the subjective nature of the 'filmed touch'. Moreover the issues of employment and poverty, which emerge at Sabzian's trial, render the film a subtle societal critique. Ironically, Close-Up also fulfils the dreams of both Sabzian and the family he duped—allowing them to be in the movies at last."—San Fransisco Film Festival

See also...


2001 saw a number of firsts for Kiarostami— his first film shot outside his native Iran, and his first film shot entirely on digital video.Travelling to Uganda, at the request of the United ... More »


Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1997, Taste of Cherry follows the plight of a desolate man, searching for someone to bury him, as he contemplates suicide. Although dark in tone, the film is ... More »


Shot in 1987, at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, Homework is an extraordinary snapshot of an Iranian primary school and the children who know the meaning of the word 'punishment' but few have heard ... More »


"A very remarkable film, one of the very best of the year—remarkable for its strenuous technical simplicity, for its superbly intelligent acting and for the extraordinary, almost unmediated ... More »


Filmed with the piercing intensity of a parable, Iranian helmer Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry follows a desperate man on the verge of suicide who seeks someone willing to bury him discreetly ... More »

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