Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on June 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

CLOSE-UP   ***1/2

Abbas Kiarostami


IDEA:  Hossain Sabzian enters an upper-class Iranian household proclaiming to be famed filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. After a few days, he is arrested for fraud. Director Abbas Kiarostami steps in to film his trial.

BLURB:  A serendipitous confluence of fiction and reality, art and documentation, Close-Up is both the creation of a consummate filmmaker and the fortuitous unraveling of a particularly bizarre series of real-life events. That the two can hardly be separated, let alone told apart, is just a piece of what makes this intricate, slippery film so remarkable. Kiarostami is known for his preoccupation with the paradox of “cinematic realism.” Here, he miraculously stumbles upon his greatest coup: a real story of a man who created the illusion that he was a real, renowned director, only to be revealed as an imposter before his real story was turned into a movie that’s comprised of both reality and… fiction. Confusing? Well, a little. Picking at the knots of this hall-of-mirrors narrative only uncovers more layers of possible realities and deceptions. But when you stand back from this Close-Up, the picture pulls into fuller focus, and the depiction of a man literally haunted by the capabilities of the moving image turns into a broader portrait of the ways in which art and life, representation and actuality, reinforce one another indefinitely. Cinema may be a distortion, but it is also a reflection, and in the end it arrives at something resembling truth.

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